A recent study conducted by Washington State University (WSU) examined how CBD could potentially help curb cigarette smoking. It was originally published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology on Jan. 10, but the university shared a press release about its findings on Feb. 16.
The study, called “Inhibition of Nicotine Metabolism by Cannabidiol (CBD) and 7-Hydroxycannabidiol (7-OH-CBD),” used human liver tissue and cell samples, and found that CBD “inhibited a key enzyme for nicotine metabolism.” Slowing metabolism of nicotine’s key enzyme could help smokers wait before they need to inhale more, according to an WSU press release.
“The whole mission is to decrease harm from smoking, which is not from the nicotine per se, but all the carcinogens and other chemicals that are in tobacco smoke,” said Philip Lazarus, Senior Author and WSU Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. “If we can minimize that harm, it would be a great thing for human health.”
The study found that CBD slowed many nicotine enzymes, including the enzyme CYP2A6 which metabolizes more than 70% of nicotine in smokers. The researchers found that CBD inhibited the activity of CYP2A6 by 50%. “In other words, it appears that you don’t need much CBD to see the effect,” Lazarus said.
Lazarus and his team are currently working on a clinical study to learn more about how CBD can affect nicotine in smokers by measuring a participant’s nicotine levels in their blood between a six-to-eight-hour period. Eventually, the team hopes to expand their research efforts to examine CBD and nicotine addiction on a larger scale as well. The most recent study was conducted with the help of a grant from the National Institute of Health.
In August 2021, researchers at Mydecine Innovations Group signed a five-year research agreement with Johns Hopkins University to analyze how psychedelic formulations could help smokers overcome smoking addiction.
However, many cigarette smokers are just moving to cannabis consumption instead. The annual Gallup Consumption Survey published in August last year found that only 11% of Americans identified as cigarette smokers, and 16% identified as cannabis consumers. The percentage of cigarette smokers is at it’s lowest percentage yet since Gallup began asking the questions in the 1940s. In 1947, when asked if participants have smoked cigarettes in the past week, 41% said yes. In 1949 the percentage rose to 44%, and reached a height of 45% in 1954.
“Smoking cigarettes is clearly on the decline and is most likely to become even more of a rarity in the years ahead,” said Gallup Author Frank Newport about the newest results. “This reflects both public awareness of its negative effects and continuing government efforts at all levels to curtail its use. Smoking remains legal in general but is prohibited in many public places, offices, modes of transportation and in private places across the U.S. Each pack of cigarettes carries draconian warning messages about their harmful effects.”
An Australia-based study found similar results with residents preferring cannabis to smoking tobacco. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare analyzed data from 2019 in its newest analysis, and found that 20% of respondents support regular cannabis use, and only 15% support tobacco use.
Legislators in some states such as California are introducing bills to ban tobacco completely. Assembly Bill 935, which was recently introduced by Assemblymembers Damon Connolly and Evan Low, would ban tobacco products for anyone born after Jan. 1, 2007. “Preventing the next generation of Californians from becoming addicted to smoking should be a priority for anyone who cares about public health and the well-being of our children,” Connolly said.