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“Smokeless tobacco addiction is a global health crisis” – how CBD may help with nicotine dependency

A new study shows that CBD may help with chewing tobacco addiction by controlling certain symptoms.



Nicotine dependency
This may be the first study to focus on chewing tobacco

Speaking with Cannabis Health News, Dr Douglas McKay from CVScience explains how CBD may help with nicotine dependency and withdrawal symptoms.

A new study, published earlier this year, found that CBD may help to reduce withdrawal symptoms in those experiencing nicotine dependency.

The research, conducted by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in collaboration with CV Sciences’ pharmaceutical diversion, focused on chewing tobacco rather than cigarettes as it’s an area where there are few treatments. 

Dr Douglas MacKay, senior vice president at CV Sciences explained the reason for the study.

“Smokeless tobacco addiction is a global health crisis. Treatment for smokeless tobacco addiction is a huge, unmet medical need representing a global market estimated at greater than $2billion. CV Sciences’ efforts to develop and commercialise the world’s first and only FDA-approved treatment for smokeless tobacco addiction aim to address the global health crisis.”

He added: “In May 2020, CV Sciences received its formal Notice of Issuance from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for its patent application for proprietary CBD and nicotine formulation for treating smokeless tobacco addiction. The patent covers methods of treating smokeless tobacco addiction by administering pharmaceutical formulations containing CBD and nicotine.”

 Nicotine study

In the study, rats dependent on nicotine and experiencing withdrawal symptoms were given products containing CBD.

The three groups of rats received CBD injections with doses of 7.5, 15 and 30 mg per day for two weeks starting one week into chronic nicotine infusion.

The control groups included rats with nicotine mini pumps that received vehicle injections of sesame oil instead of CBD. They also included rats implanted with saline mini-pumps that received sesame oil injections (double vehicle) or high doses of 30 mg CBD. 

Dr McKay explained that the science around CBD helping people with withdrawal is a new area.

He said: “The scientific evidence that CBD can help with withdrawal symptoms is rapidly emerging. However, there are several more studies and FDA requirements to be completed before a CBD product can be marketed to treat withdrawal symptoms. Today if someone is trying to overcome withdrawal symptoms they can try a CBD dietary supplement, but this would be very different from the drug product being developed (CBD combined with nicotine), and there is limited scientific evidence to support CBD alone for withdrawal.”

He added: “In animal models, CBD has been shown to reduce the craving of alcohol and cocaine use and is known to modulate nicotinic receptor function. Millions of people use smokeless tobacco because they are addicted to nicotine. To quit, users must overcome nicotine cravings and the desire to have a chew, snuff, or pouch in their mouths. CV Sciences is working on a treatment solution for both.”

Throughout the experiment, serum was collected to determine the CBD and nicotine concentrations or mechanical sensitivity threshold. The withdrawal scores were measured and their body weight was recorded.

The results showed that CBD may prevent the animals from experiencing increased pain sensitivity and weight gain during long and short term restrictions.

Read more: Irish doctors may shun Medical Cannabis Access Programme

Nicotine dependency: Can CBD help? A pile of brown loose tobacco lies on a white background next to a green plant stem with yellow petals

Exciting results

The combination of CBD and nicotine could present an alternative quitting method for those who may not have had success with traditional methods such as gum or patches.

Dr McKay said: “CV Sciences drug development is more than just CBD. It is CBD combined with nicotine in an oral delivery pouch. Unlike Champix or patches, this drug satisfies both the physiological craving, as well as the mechanical desire that chewing tobacco users have to have something in their mouth to chew.”

A previous study on nicotine dependency

This is not the first study to examine if CBD could be effective in helping people to reduce nicotine use. Although it may be the only one to focus on chewing tobacco. 

A study from the University College London’s Clinical Psychopharmacology unit in 2018 revealed that CBD may help people to quit smoking cigarettes. 

The study involved 30 cigarette smokers with nicotine dependency entering a lab after smoking normally or abstaining for 12 hours. The participants were then given CBD capsules or a placebo on separate occasions. 

The results found that after a single dose of CBD treatment, heavy smokers found smoking-related stimuli less visually attention-grabbing. These visual cues such as seeing friends smoking can lead to relapse. 

Researchers say their early results suggest that CBD is a promising candidate for reducing nicotine dependency.

Read more: Working 9 to 5: US study reveals 15% of remote workers used cannabis on the job


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