Thousands of people die from tobacco-related diseases annually, while many others suffer from nicotine dependence and addiction, which can severely impact their well-being and quality of life.
Not so long ago, tobacco was mainly consumed through cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco. Today, that list has grown to include synthetically manufactured cigarettes. As a result of this harmful habit, roughly 1 in 5 deaths that occur in the U.S. each year are caused by tobacco consumption. It has also been found that cigarette smoking is the top leading cause of premature deaths. It’s even the top preventable disease in America and several other countries.
Not only do thousands of people die from tobacco-related diseases annually, many suffer from nicotine dependence and addiction, which can severely impact their well-being and quality of life. Fortunately, though, one natural treatment method that can help individuals beat nicotine dependence and addiction is via cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) usage.
Important Takeaways About Nicotine Dependence—What Tobacco Consumers Should Know
Nicotine is normally defined as a certain type of chemical that possesses nitrogen. Various plant species produce nitrogen including the tobacco plant, which possesses a significantly larger amount of nicotine than in other foods and plants like potatoes and eggplant. Unfortunately, though, it’s very possible for people to become dependent and addicted to nicotine. Oftentimes, tobacco is synthetically manufactured in the form of cigarettes, which can be more addictive than other forms of tobacco.
In addition, nicotine dependence refers to one’s addiction to tobacco products that contain large amounts of nicotine. The dependency comes into play when an individual cannot stop consuming the product or chemical despite understanding how harmful it is. Nicotine creates and delivers results in the form of mind-altering feelings and physical effects within the brain, which leads to short-term pleasure. This ensures that the individual will keep wanting to consume tobacco that contains nicotine, which then results in a dependency problem. When one smokes tobacco, dopamine is released within minutes, and this supports smokers’ urge to keep consuming tobacco.
Furthermore, one study mentioned that ingredients of cigarette smoke besides nicotine contribute to nicotine addiction. The same study stated the following: “In addition to delivering nicotine to the brain quickly, cigarettes have been designed with additives and engineering features to enhance its addictiveness.” Similarly, the study mentioned that nicotine’s speedy absorption rates and access into the brain produce an intense ‘rush’, which strengthens the drug’s effects. It has also been found that when nicotine is inhaled, it enters the body’s lungs and travels to the brain within seconds. Thus, people get hooked on this feeling, the rapid ‘rush’, and they crave to feel like this time and time again.
The Impact Nicotine Dependence Has on Tobacco Users’ Well-being
For years, various scientists and researchers have examined the impact nicotine can have on the brain, the body’s different systems, and functions. Sadly, nicotine dependence and addiction can significantly harm one’s quality of life, well-being, and physical, mental, and psychological health. When one is dependent on nicotine, they can experience physical and behavioral changes in the form of altered habits, routines, and emotions.
Many of these behavioral changes associated with smoking tobacco products can potentially become triggers, which could then stimulate strong tobacco cravings despite how long it has been since the user has smoked. Ultimately, it’s essential to understand which triggers affect a tobacco user, so they can choose the most appropriate treatment method to help combat nicotine dependence or addiction.
Since nicotine creates and delivers mood-altering feelings and physical effects within the brain, short-term pleasure occurs, which keeps users craving for more. When tobacco smoke is inhaled into the lungs, nicotine is even more addictive because this method quickly releases nicotine into the body’s blood, which allows it to reach the brain within seconds of inhaling one puff. Unfortunately, smoking tobacco can negatively impact all the body’s systems, which can then lead to the following health issues: lung disease, cancer, strokes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, reproductive disease, osteoporosis, cataracts, etc.
Although nicotine dependence can deliver physical and mental health issues, it can also deliver psychological issues like depression, anxiety, emptiness, moodiness, and irritability.
Life-altering Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms & Treatment Methods
Moreover, annually, only about three percent of tobacco smokers succeed in quitting and stick with it. When one tries to quit, they experience different withdrawal symptoms. There are numerous nicotine withdrawal symptoms with some of them being mood swings, isolation, worthlessness, low self-esteem and self-confidence, irritability, and anxiety. It’s even possible for nicotine withdrawal symptoms to manifest into impatience, frustration, sleeping difficulties, anger, and concentration issues. Once one decides to quit smoking though, they normally experience physical and mental withdrawal symptoms such as depressed moods, diarrhea, severe cravings, elevated hunger, and restlessness.
Fortunately, though, there are various treatment options available, especially for those suffering from nicotine withdrawal symptoms. A few treatment options consist of the following:
- Medications (patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers)
- Support groups, counseling, or stress management workshops
- Essential oils and herbs
- At-home changes (healthy eating, more exercise, staying busy during usual smoking times, and avoiding certain triggers)
- Electronic cigarettes
- Cognitive retraining
- Drug therapy or aversion therapy
- Forms of therapy measured by PET imaging
- Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) consumption
Cannabis and CBD for Combating Nicotine Dependence & Addiction
Besides the available traditional treatment methods, cannabis and CBD can help treat many nicotine withdrawal symptoms without further harming the individual. In recent years, different research findings have revealed that cannabis isn’t as addictive as several other illegal substances. Specifically, CBD is non-addictive and non-psychoactive, and one study found that it could help reduce addictive behavior and control addiction, especially nicotine addiction. It has also been discovered that CBD can help control nicotine addictive habits.
One 2013 study that focused on addictive behaviors demonstrated that whole plant derived CBD helped lessen smokers’ tobacco usage, especially users that were nicotine dependent. The study’s participants who used a CBD inhaler demonstrated a 40 percent reduction in the number of smoked cigarettes compared to the subjects who used the placebo.
Furthermore, cannabis and CBD can help alleviate and treat the following withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine dependence and addiction: headaches, irritability depression, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, panic attacks, restlessness, and cravings. Fortunately, there are different cannabis strains that can treat symptoms due to nicotine dependence and withdrawal such as the following:
To alleviate moodiness and irritability: Pineapple Kush, Blue Dream, & Harley Mandala
To relieve headaches: Purple Haze, Green Crack, Lemon Kush, & G6
To relieve sleeping difficulties: Skywalker, Granddaddy Purple, & God’s Gift
To avoid additional lung irritation and worsening of existing respiratory issues, it’s suggested that tobacco users consume cannabis and CBD via vaping, oral ingestion, transdermal administration, or topical administration instead of smoking. It’s crucial to experiment with different strains and consumption methods to find which ones work best for you.
Although nicotine dependence and addiction are more prevalent in people with substance-abuse disorders or mental illnesses, anyone can become hooked on nicotine. To avoid harmful tobacco-causing diseases from occurring and a poor quality of life, it’s recommended to quit the consumption of tobacco, especially smoking.
Since cannabis and CBD can naturally help you through this process by relieving negative withdrawal symptoms and improving your well-being, why not try it? You’re strong enough to beat nicotine dependence and addiction, and with cannabis and CBD on your side, you can get back to the best of health, but you must believe it yourself.