CBD for giving up smoking

CBD Against Smoking
Written by Stefan K.

Every year in England alone, more than 75,000 people die from the consequences of smoking. According to the German Cancer Society, young people tend to smoke occasionally, while older people smoke more regularly and with greater frequency. Experts assume that 12 million people in the Federal Republic of Germany still smoke, despite declining numbers. 

There are plenty of smokers who want to quit. The problem is that quitting smoking is very difficult for most of them. The cannabinoid CBD can be a help in quitting smoking that should not be underestimated. Extracted from the cannabis plant, it can, for example, help to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms after quitting. CBD can therefore reduce the relapse rate. 

In contrast to the related THC, CBD is not psychoactive, does not cause intoxication and is not addictive. For smokers who have become accustomed to inhaling, CBD e-liquids offer a good alternative. These can be taken via an e-vaporiser(e-cigarette). 

The hurdles to quitting smoking

When asked when they smoke, most smokers answer that they smoke in stressful situations, when they are depressed, when they feel anxious or when they are bored. This results in a psychological as well as physical dependence for many of those affected. 

The nicotine contained in tobacco triggers a short but strong feeling of intoxication in the body. This is usually the reason for the addiction. When the addict’s body is deprived of the drug, withdrawal symptoms appear. 

Psychological addiction is mostly about daily rituals. These include the “fag” with the morning coffee, the quick smoke during the break, the last “fag” before sleeping or the famous “cigarette afterwards”. All these forms show that it is not the nicotine but the activity itself that is the triggering component. Smoking is thus associated with an event, not with an ingredient. Living through these situations without smoking is one of the biggest hurdles on the way to a smoke-free life. 

Social pressure, in addition to the points listed, is the third factor why some people cannot stop smoking. Partying with smoking friends, social interaction with smoking colleagues or other social situations shared with smokers make quitting a difficult task. 

CBD for giving up smoking – experiences and tips

Those who see smoking as a pleasure are unlikely to want to give it up. For those who consider smoking a bad habit, there is always a way to give it up. Researchers [1] from London have found that CBD can help in quitting such habits. The study results presented by the researchers reinforce the positive impression CBD has made on giving up nicotine. In this study, 24 smokers who wanted to quit their addiction were divided into two groups. One received a placebo, the other CBD. Both groups took their dose via an inhaler over the period of one week. The device was to be used when the desire to smoke occurred. 

While cigarette consumption did not decrease in the participants of the placebo group, it decreased significantly by 40 % in the CBD group. Follow-up examinations of the test persons even showed a retention of the behaviour over a longer period of time. The researchers assume that the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which are activated by CBD, on the one hand help with short-term withdrawal, but also have an impact on certain memory processes that revolve around memories. According to experts, these are partly responsible for smokers reaching for the familiar cigarette again and again. CBD can therefore suppress the smoker’s memory that smoking is rewarded by the body via its influence on the ECS. It can therefore be stated that CBD can be helpful for nicotine withdrawal

CBD against withdrawal symptoms

It is one thing to quit smoking, but another thing not to start again. The person who is used to smoking usually suffers from physical and mental withdrawal symptoms after quitting. These can cause former smokers to start again. 

The most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • anger and irritability,
  • anxiety and nervousness,
  • lack of concentration,
  • inner restlessness and stress,
  • increased appetite,
  • headaches
  • sleep disorders,
  • tremors,
  • stomach problems and 
  • depression.

CBD can be an effective remedy for these forms of withdrawal. 

CBD for frustration, anger and irritability

Those who have quit smoking may well experience withdrawal symptoms of frustration, anger and irritability – in a word, stress. Not only do many people turn to cigarettes again to cope with this stress, but chronic stress can have negative effects on the immune system.

CBD can combat the stress caused by not smoking. CBD can minimise stress because it influences the control of the production of serotonin via the ECS in the human brain. Thus, increased feelings of happiness can counteract stress. CBDcan specifically combat chronic stress in the long term, which often occurs in smokers after quitting. CBD also helps prevent stress from increasing susceptibility to infectious diseases. Paradoxically, it helps because it inhibits the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol actually has an anti-inflammatory effect, but when it is overproduced due to stress, it attacks the immune system. If you feel increased stress from not smoking, you can regulate it with CBD. The effect of CBD on the cortisol level is also proven by a double-blind study [2]. The cortisol level did not change in the placebo group, but it decreased significantly in the CBD group. The participants in the CBD group felt significantly less stress as a result

CBD for anxiety and nervousness

Among the socially recognisable withdrawal symptoms in people who have given up smoking are anxiety and increased nervousness. Not only in private everyday life, but also in the professional environment, both conditions can lead to considerable impairments. Instead of resorting to cigarettes just to be able to “function” again, many former smokers rely on the cannabinoid CBD

A study [3] from 2011 came to the conclusion that CBD has anxiolytic properties. Here, too, two groups were formed. The administration of CBD was alternated – i.e. the groups received CBD and placebos alternately. The result revealed that anxiety was significantly reduced in those who received CBD. The researchers suspect that CBD has an effect on the limbic as well as the paralimbic areas of the brain. Especially smokers who want to alleviate anxiety such as nervousness with their addiction can now use CBD instead. 

CBD for lack of concentration

Those who want to overcome an addiction like smoking quickly face the problem, especially in everyday life, of being able to concentrate on little else apart from focusing on it. Lack of concentration is one of the main withdrawal symptoms when quitting smoking. 

CBD can be helpful in this case via a very specific pathway. In an experiment [4], experts found that subjects’ performance on most tasks improved significantly when they were either fast asleep or otherwise relaxed. It is assumed that concentration performance only works in combination with basic relaxation in the long term. CBD, through its calming effect, can help maintain concentration even on other subjects during the smoking cessation phase, when many thoughts revolve around cigarettes. A regular sleep-wake rhythm also helps with concentration. CBD can also help with this, as listed below. 

CBD for increased appetite

Many people don’t want to quit smoking because they fear eating more afterwards. CBD can also help with this side effect of quitting smoking. The European Union commissioned a study [5] that identified 18 genes that make people prone to obesity. Some of these are directly or indirectly related to stress. This stress can be an indicator of increased appetite and thus of obesity. Researchers have published in another study [6] that work related stress is a particularly aggravating factor here. Against this stress, CBD can help to calm the body and thus prevent binge eating. It also reduces the appetite for snacks. 

It can therefore be concluded that although CBD has an appetite-stimulating effect in anorexia, it can have an effect on weight preservation when quitting smoking. 

CBD for headaches

Many smokers who have broken their addiction report experiencing mild to severe headaches from withdrawal during the cessation phase. Often these headaches are caused by a hormonal imbalance. CBD can help here through its influence on serotonin production. The happiness hormone serotonin is not only a decisive factor for a person’s psychological well-being but also does a remarkable job at inhibiting pain. Since CBD stimulates the production of serotonin, it helps fight pain. This also affects those headaches that occur as withdrawal symptoms after quitting smoking. 

CBD for insomnia

Which smoker does not recognise this scenario. You lie awake at night and dream of the next cigarette with your eyes open. This urge can be especially strong if you have only recently stopped smoking. Insomnia is thus one of the withdrawal symptoms. 

People who suffer from insomnia took part in a study [7] at the University of California. It was found that CBD not only improves the quality of sleep itself but can also accelerate and  facilitate falling asleep due to its calming effect. It can be stated that CBD considerably shortens the phases of restlessness before falling asleep for people who have just quit smoking. CBD’s ability to make former smokers forget the reward mechanisms of smoking also helps them to fall asleep free of these thoughts. 


CBD for tremors

One of the most common withdrawal symptoms after quitting smoking is trembling of the hands. This may be due to the psychological stress involved, on the one hand, and the withdrawal of nicotine, on the other. 

A similar tremor afflicts the body when suffering from a [8], who looked into the administration of CBD for essential tremor, found that not only did the spastic seizures subside, but specifically the accompanying tremor dramatically decreased. Since, according to the researchers, the source of the tremor did not seem to play a role, it can be hopefully assumed that the tremor caused by nicotine withdrawal can also be alleviated by taking CBD.

CBD for stomach and intestinal problems

As soon as the deadening effect of smoking on the body wears off, considerable damage often becomes apparent that was previously unnoticed. These often include problems with the stomach. An irritable bowel can become noticeable on quitting smoking in the form of flatulence, diarrhoea, abdominal pain or constipation

CBD oil in particular can help with these problems. CBD can alleviate the effects of abdominal cramps as well as the onset and progression of diarrhoea.

CBD for depression

People who have quit smoking can fall into a psychological black hole as a result. Depression can be one of the consequences. This type of withdrawal symptom is noticeable through listlessnessreduced drive, a depressed moodand increased brooding

The fact that CBD has an anti-depressive effect, known as anxiolytic among experts, has been proven by numerous studies [9]. If former smokers experience this form of withdrawal-related mental illness, taking CBD can help. In order to enhance the effect of CBD when quitting smoking, many people advise taking the cannabinoid via CBD liquids and an e-cigarette. The activity is similar to smoking a cigarette and thus gives the body the feeling that tobacco is being consumed. 

The mood-boosting properties of CBD also help against depression.

Dosage of CBD in the fight against addiction

If you want to quit smoking, you can use CBD in the withdrawal process. The natural substance from the hemp plant also does a good job at treating the numerous withdrawal symptoms that occur when giving up nicotine. 

Generally sound advice concerning which CBD dosage one should start with and which promises the best success, can only be given to a limited extent. This is due to the different CBD dosage forms, such as:

… and many others, as well as the physical constitution and receptivity of the person concerned. A tip on how to help yourself quit smoking is to note down in a diary the number of cigarettes smoked with the amount and dosage of CBD taken in comparison. In this way, you can observe how many drops of CBD oil you need to reduce your cigarette consumption. 


  1. Can CBD help me quit smoking?

    Yes, CBD can be particularly helpful with the withdrawal symptoms of smoking, such as insomnia, increased appetite or stress.

  2. CBD oil for giving up smoking?

    You can use a high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil to quit smoking. However, many people prefer to use CBD vaporizers as it mimics the feeling of smoking.

  3. Experience with CBD for giving up smoking?

    There are numerous studies where the positive properties of CBD have been proven. Read up on experience with CBD at

[1] – 23.04.2019

[2] – 23.04.2020

[3] – 23.04.2020

[4] – 23.04.2020

[5] – 23.04.2020

[6] . 23.04.2020

[7] – 23.04.2020

[8] – 23.04.2020

[9] – 23.04.2020

When taking products containing cannabinoids, interactions with various medications may occur under certain circumstances. If you are taking medication yourself, the use of CBD and other cannabinoids should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.

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About the author

Stefan K.

Stefan K.

Stefan is not only a valuable part of the CannaTrust magazine but also convinces with his sound knowledge about the effects of cannabinoids. As an author in Austria he gathered valuable experiences when writing for 'Stadtblatt Salzburg'. He got in contact with cannabis through several positive media reports. Nowadays he writes about everything around the most popular cannabinoid these days: CBD.