Cannabidiol; an alternative to cannabis and tobacco?

Cannabidiol; an alternative to cannabis and tobacco?

Marijuana may contain a chemical that can help fight cigarette addiction, according to new research out of Britain - specifically Cannabidiol; in this article, we review the current evidence for considering cannabis in general, and CBD in particular, as a possible aid for quitting smoking.

Cannabis is also known as marijuana. It is a psychoactive drug that is derived from Cannabis plant of the family Cannabaceae. It is intended for medical or recreational use. Cannabis has been used over a long time for production of hemp fibre and hemp oils. The medical use of cannabis is for management of chronic pain, muscle spasms, reduction of nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy.

Marijuana has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. Scientists have identified many biologically active components in marijuana. These are called cannabinoids. The two best-studied components are the chemicals delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (often referred to as THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). Other cannabinoids are being studied.

When cannabis is smoked, it causes short-term effects which include dry mouth, short-term memory loss, red eyes, and feeling of excitement while the long-term side effects include decreased mental ability, behavioural problems, in-coordination, memory and cognition problems and also the addiction.

It has been shown that long-term use of cannabis could cause increase the risk of psychosis.

Tobacco is derived from tobacco leaves of Nicotiana family. It mainly contains the alkaloid nicotine, which is a stimulant and a highly addictive psychoactive drug which causes physical and psychological dependency.

Tobacco leaves are used for smoking such as in cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars, flavoured shisha tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, and dipping tobacco.

Smoking is the most common method of tobacco consumption and tobacco is the most commonly smoked substance.

The nicotine present in tobacco when smoked causes alertness, increased heart rate and faster reaction times. Nicotine is a powerful neurotoxin and can be used as the insect repellant in killing insects.

Increase smoking of tobacco increases the risk factor for many diseases of the heart, lung, liver causing heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and strokes.

Tobacco smoke contains some chemicals which cause cancer and, and may also lead to cancer formation such as lung cancer etc. It contributes to major miscarriages in pregnant smokers and causes health problems for foetuses such as low birth weight, premature birth and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Smoking cannabis and tobacco has unique smoking relationship which leads to overlapping dependence and psychological problems, when both substances are smoked, there is crossed sensitisation with tobacco enhancing the effects of cannabis such that many of the people that smoke these substances have a poor treatment outcome for their health and relapse may occur due to the detrimental effect of these psychoactive substances.

Since tobacco and cannabis have effects on the brain, both when smoked may interact and lead to the more psychologically complicated problem, therefore, affecting the memory function and behaviour. Although Cannabidiol is one of the 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis, it has a non-intoxicating effect and it is completely non-psychoactive.

Cannabidiol does not cause the 'high’ feeling and hence counteract the psychoactive properties of tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis.

Cannabidiol has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anxiolytic, analgesic, anti-tumour, neuroprotective, anti-psychotic and muscle relaxation properties. Therefore it is a decent option for the patient that need relief from chronic pain, spasms, inflammation, seizures without causing addiction like cannabis and tobacco.