The Link Between Tobacco and Inflammation
It’s no secret that tobacco use isn’t healthy – it says so right on the box. However, despite its widely documented health risks, more than 30 million Americans continue to smoke. Even those who smoke a pack of cigarettes or more a day are aware of the harmful effects that tobacco and nicotine have on the body. Most people know that smoking can cause cancer. But many are unaware of the link between tobacco use and inflammation.
While health experts have long known that tobacco smoking causes increased inflammation throughout the body, scientists have only recently discovered why. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows that nicotine (the addictive component in tobacco and electronic cigarettes) activates neutrophils––the most common type of white blood cells in the body. When nicotine activates these particular white blood cells, it increases inflammation. This chronic inflammation may, in turn, contribute to smoking-related diseases.
The sooner a smoker quits, the faster they will reduce their increased risk of cancer, heart and lung disease, chronic inflammation, and other conditions directly related to tobacco use.
What Happens After You Quit Smoking?
Many tobacco smokers look for any––and every––excuse they can use to keep smoking. They might even tell themselves that it doesn’t matter if they quit smoking because the damage is already done, and it’s just not worth stopping. However, this simply isn’t true. The timeline for seeing the real benefits of quitting tobacco is faster than most people realize.
Health Benefits Timeline
The health benefits of smoking cessation begin in as little as an hour after your last cigarette, when your body begins a series of healing changes that continue for years. The sooner you quit, the faster your body will start to heal itself.
- 1 hour after your last cigarette:
Your circulation begins to improve. Your heart rate drops and starts returning to normal.
- 1 day after your last cigarette:
The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Your risk of heart disease begins to fall.
- 1 week after your last cigarette:
Your sense of smell and taste begin to improve within days. After three days of being tobacco-free, the nicotine levels in your body will be depleted.
- 1 month after your last cigarette:
Inflammation associated with heart disease risk will start to decrease within the first few weeks of smoking cessation. Your skin complexion will start to regain its healthy glow. Within the first month, your lung function will begin to improve. You’ll notice less coughing and shortness of breath. You may find it easier to exercise.
- 3 months after your last cigarette:
Your circulation continues to improve. Inflammation continues to decrease throughout your body.
- 6 months after your last cigarette:
Your airways will be much less inflamed without the constant exposure to the toxic chemicals in cigarettes. You’ll find it easier to breathe.
- 1 year after your last cigarette:
Your risk of coronary heart disease drops to half that of people who currently smoke. Your lung function will be improved due to airway inflammation being reduced.
- 5 years after your last cigarette:
Your arteries and blood vessels begin to widen, and your risk of stroke has lowered. The risk of stroke will continue to reduce over time. Over the next ten years, the risk of stroke will continue to diminish.
- 10 years after your last cigarette:
Your chances of developing lung cancer are roughly cut in half compared to a smoker’s. The likelihood of you developing other cancers related to smoking has significantly reduced.
- 20 years after your last cigarette:
Your risk of death from tobacco-related causes (including cancer and lung disease) drops to the level of a person who has never smoked.
Nicotine Withdrawal Timeline
While smoking cessation has many health benefits, pulling away from tobacco can be challenging due to uncomfortable nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Remember, this discomfort will be only temporary, and the benefits to the body and mind are almost immediate.
Withdrawal symptoms typically set in between 30 minutes and four hours after the last cigarette. After just two hours, your body will have already flushed out around half the nicotine in your system. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are always the worst the first week after quitting, typically peaking in the first three days. While the nicotine leaves your system, you may experience headaches, nausea, restlessness, and insomnia. You may also feel anxious, irritable, frustrated, and depressed. The nicotine levels will continue to subside over the next few days until it no longer affects your body.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms will gradually fade over the next three to four weeks. Heavier smokers may continue to experience cravings after the physical symptoms have passed. Former smokers may experience cravings when triggered by specific situations or cues, like sipping coffee, hanging out with friends, or the deeply ingrained ritual of smoking. It’s helpful to know your own personal cues so you can plan what you will do when they happen.
Fewer than one in ten adult tobacco smokers succeed in quitting each year. Because of nicotine’s “feel-good” effect on the brain, it’s easy for people to fall back on old habits. When cravings become overwhelming, or when a former smoker seeks a way to relax after a stressful situation, it can be tempting to smoke tobacco.
For those seeking a more natural approach to smoking cessation, having a non-addictive, nicotine-free, tobacco-free alternative on hand, such as our Native hemp smokes, can help tobacco users kick their habit for good. Smokable hemp products offer a relaxing alternative to tobacco, with hemp flower being an effective nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and a potent anti-inflammatory agent. With SOJE, you can shake the addiction without giving up the ritual of smoking cold turkey.
Why are Anti-inflammatory Products Important When You Quit Smoking?
Tobacco use has wide-ranging and severe impacts on the immune system. It increases inflammation levels throughout the body, increases the incidence of autoimmune disease, decreases the immune response, and can lead to the development of a range of conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), among others.
However, kicking a tobacco habit can be difficult due to nicotine addiction and the ingrained habit of smoking. When you quit smoking cigarettes, having a tobacco-free alternative can help you on the path toward better habits. High-quality CDB flower is not only an attractive alternative to tobacco––it can also aid in reversing the inflammatory effects of tobacco. CBD flower has been shown to have many wellness benefits during the process of smoking cessation, including easing nicotine withdrawal symptoms, reducing smoking-related cues, reducing inflammation throughout the body, and more.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a naturally-occurring chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or hemp. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive (it won’t result in feeling “high”). This quality makes CBD products an appealing option for those looking to alleviate the unpleasant effects of nicotine withdrawal while having the added benefit of anti-inflammatory properties.
Many consumers find the effects of CBD to be calming. CBD has also been shown to have many healing properties, including analgesic (pain-relieving), antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. This is because cannabinoids reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in a person’s body, thereby decreasing inflammation.
Does Smoking Cause Brain Inflammation?
Tobacco use has many detrimental effects on the brain and has even been shown to cause brain damage. Research shows a link between a common substance found in tobacco smoke, a compound known as NNK, and neuroinflammation, a condition that leads to disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Cigarette smoke is also a major preventable risk factor for stroke due to the inflammation triggered by nicotine. Someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day is six times more likely to have a stroke than a non-smoker.
Does Smoking Cause Lung Inflammation?
Tobacco smoke is a complex mixture of gasses, toxic chemicals, and other irritants. When tobacco smoke enters the lungs, it generates an inflammatory response similar to pneumonia. Smoking is directly responsible for almost 90% of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80% of deaths caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. People who quit smoking may be able to reverse some of the lung damage caused by tobacco.
Can CBD Be Taken With Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen?
At this time, more research is needed to determine how CBD interacts with other medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen is an active ingredient in many over-the-counter pain-relief drugs and works well to alleviate many forms of pain that result from inflammation. Ibuprofen works by reducing the body’s ability to produce prostaglandins––chemicals that promote pain, inflammation, and fever. It’s essential to remember that ibuprofen comes with potential side effects, including high blood pressure, ulcers (stomach bleeding), and dizziness.
Cannabinoids, like CBD, have been shown to have pain-relieving properties similar to those of ibuprofen. The primary difference between ibuprofen and CBD is their interaction with pain response pathways. CBD appears to offer pain relief by inhibiting the action of neurotransmitters.
NOTE: Always check with your healthcare provider before using CBD products or taking medication to determine your best course of treatment.
Advantages of Hemp Flower
While the adverse effects of tobacco use continue to arise, the possible health and lifestyle benefits of hemp flower continue to transcend. Hemp flower has a long history of use within Native American communities as plant medicine and is renowned for its calming, pain management, and anti-inflammatory properties.
SOJE was developed with smoking cessation in mind. Our top-shelf hemp flower smokes look, feel, and smoke like traditional cigarettes while allowing smokers to avoid the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine. Our Floral Blend combines the purest, highest quality hemp flower and organically certified Native medicinal herbs like uva ursi, raspberry leaf, and damiana. Our Mint Blend combines hemp with peppermint and prairie sage, while our Original Blend is 100% pure regeneratively grown hemp flower grown by our tribe using our indigenous agricultural practices.
Smokable hemp can increase focus and relaxation while decreasing inflammation and feelings of anxiousness while being an effective alternative to tobacco. On top of that, smoking high-quality hemp flower is considered an effective delivery method for CBD because of how quickly the body absorbs it. The subtly calming effects are felt almost immediately after inhalation. In contrast, the impact of other CBD products, such as edibles, can take up to two hours to kick in.
There is a lot of clinical evidence that CBD is safe to consume, even in large quantities. A 2019 study published in CNS Drugs showed that healthy individuals who received 1500 mg of CBD twice per day experienced very few adverse reactions, and all were mild. For context, each individual SOJE cigarette contains 50+ mg off full-spectrum CBD to ensure immediate and extended relief and balance.
Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussions about health, wellness, and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog and website are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. SOJE strongly advises all people to seek the care of a physician if and when they decide to quit smoking and follow their advice.