CBD: Help against nicotine addiction?

February 23, 2023

New research from Washington State University shows that CBD inhibits nicotine metabolism. The study tested how CBD and its main metabolite 7-hydroxycannabidiol* affect cell samples from human liver tissue and other cell cultures. The mission, says Philip Lazarus, WSU professor of pharmaceutical sciences and lead author of the study, is to “reduce the harm of smoking, which is not from nicotine per se, but from all the carcinogens and other chemicals that are in tobacco smoke.”  

Study finding: CBD inhibits one of the key enzymes (CYP2A6) involved in nicotine metabolism. This means it could help tobacco users curb the urge to smoke cigarettes. Slowing the drug’s metabolism could result in delaying the craving for the next puff.   

 Even low CBD concentrations affect nicotine metabolism  

Further research has shown that over 70% of nicotine is metabolized by this enzyme (CYP2A6) in most tobacco users. The effect of CBD on CYP2A6 appears to be quite strong. The results suggest that its activity is inhibited by 50% at already relatively low CBD concentrations (1 μM).  

The same team, led by Lazarus, is currently developing a clinical trial to investigate the effects of CBD on blood nicotine levels in smokers:  

  • Treatment group: smokers taking CBD 
  • Placebo group: smokers taking placebo 
  • Observation period: 6-8 hours    


Philip Lazarus emphasizes that further research is needed to confirm these effects in humans and to determine the dosage. But the results of the current study are already very promising.  

*Main metabolite is the substance CBD converts into in the body. 


Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2023, 36, 2, 177–187. Publication Date: January 10, 2023


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