What is the difference between CBD and nicotine?
With the growing popularity of both CBD and nicotine products, it is helpful to know the distinctions between the two in order to not only understand how they differ in their effects and composition, but also to recognize which one is most suitable for your intentions. Are you looking for pain relief and reduced anxiety? Perhaps you are wanting a kick of alertness and heightened adrenaline? By the end of this blog, you will be familiarized and educated on the basics of both CBD and nicotine, making your choice between the two significantly easier.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is an active chemical component of cannabis sativa. CBD is specifically derived from hemp but can also be derived from marijuana, however, due to the fact that CBD contains very little to no THC, it will not get you high.
According to webmd, CBD and THC have basically the same make up and chemical composition, but they have different arrangements. This of course gives CBD and THC different effects. CBD in particular can affect one’s mood, pain, sleep, and can even affect memory. Because CBD contains less than 0.3% THC, it is legal and easily available in the US, however there is definitely still some wariness because of how it comes from such a similar plant to THC.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years in many different manners and by a wide variety of people. The first usage of CBD was before the common era, with it being infused in tea to fight illness. In 1839, an Irish researcher began to look into the effects of cannabis and the potential for its medical uses. He found that it would do well as an anesthetic. He got the ball rolling toward the discovery of cannabinoids in cannabis. The cannabinoid CBD was isolated by the chemist Roger Adams in 1942. This was a steppingstone to medical uses of cannabis being widely recognized in 1978. As previously mentioned, there still was a wariness to legality of the substance because people feared the psychoactive cousin of CBD, THC. Despite this, CBD derived from hemp became legalized across the nation in 2018. So, despite the longtime usage of CBD, its legality is super recent.
Why do people enjoy CBD?
Regardless of the recent legality, people love using CBD. This is because of the multitude of benefits it has. Webmd notes that CBD is used to reduce anxiety, depression, and sleep problems on top of providing pain relief for acute and chronic conditions. As of right now, there isn’t necessarily science-based evidence backing these wellness claims, but considering how many people swear by CBD, one would think that there are real effects. Don’t take this to mean that CBD is just a placebo drug though. Webmd also informs that there is one FDA approved use of CBD and that is in the drug Epidiolex, which helps treat childhood epilepsy.
How does it work?
As more research is done, we are further and more thoroughly understanding how cannabis affects us and can help us. We have a system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate the processes of appetite, sleep, and mood. Receptors and endocannabinoids in this system collaborate with enzymes to break down cannabinoids (such as CBD). This is all while the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids try to bind with the receptors as well. CBD doesn’t attach to receptors, healtheuropa.eu clarifies, but it does impact it in a way that brings about some of the pain reducing benefits of CBD.
According to projectcbd.org, endocannabinoids in our bodies and cannabinoids that we absorb both use the same transport proteins. This means that they kind of compete in a way for the proteins. Therefore, the presence of CBD leads to more natural endocannabinoid presence that is just lingering in the body and sending signals throughout the body, but not actually being transported. Projectcbd.org claims that this process is basically like a “natural high” because the CBD allows for heightened activity of the endocannabinoids that are already in the body.
What is Nicotine?
Nicotine is the active ingredient in tobacco plants. Nicotine is made in the roots of tobacco plants and then it gathers in the leaves. This makes it easier to extract and implement in products that people across the globe love.
Tobacco has been used for around 2000 years. Initially, people were skeptical as to whether to love the plant for its effects and medical applications or whether to hate it for its toxicity. It’s fair to say that even today there are vast differences of opinion on this matter. The smoking of tobacco particularly became popular in the 1600s, growing the popularity of cigars and pipes. This became a massive industry, making tobacco products easily available. It wasn’t until 1828, medicalnewstoday.com states, that Wilhelm Heinrich Posselt and Karl Ludwig Reinmann actually isolated nicotine from tobacco.
Why do people enjoy nicotine?
Nicotine is unique in that it acts as both a sedative and a stimulant, medicalnewstoday.com conveys. Nicotine gives you a “kick,” releasing not only adrenaline, but also dopamine. Other benefits that people enjoy from nicotine include alertness, euphoria, relaxation, improved memory, heightened concentration, arousal, and reduced anxiety.
How does it work?
Nicotine has several ways it can be consumed and therefore several ways in which it is absorbed into the body. When smoked, news-medical.net informs, nicotine is absorbed through the air sac lining of the lungs. When snuffed or chewed, it is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Nicotine can also be absorbed through skin, such as with patches. As the nicotine enters the body, the chemical enters the blood, travelling through the body to the brain. It then activates receptors that eventually bring about the benefits mentioned above.
Tobacco-Free Nicotine v. Tobacco Based Nicotine
The newest form of nicotine in the market is TFN (Tobacco-Free Nicotine), which is a 100% pure nicotine derived in a lab without any use of the tobacco. Many consumers are switching to TFN products because they do not carry any of the impurities associated with tobacco products. Tobacco based nicotine is synthesized from the tobacco plant and is much more common.
How are CBD and Nicotine similar?
To better grasp how CBD and nicotine are each unique, we will first see how they share similarities that may confuse people into believing they are fairly alike.
1. They are consumed in similar ways
Luckily for consumers of both nicotine and CBD, there are a plethora of ways to consume them. Nicotine is most often ingested with tobacco, but there are now ways in which it can be consumed isolated from tobacco. Most people are familiar with cigarettes, snuff, and chewing tobacco as ways to ingest nicotine, but there are actually several other interesting consumption methods. These include nicotine patches, gums, pouches, inhalers, vapes, and e-cigs. This variety allows for individuals to enjoy their nicotine buzz in a multitude of ways.
CBD is similar in that it has several methods of consumption, including some of the ways nicotine is consumed. CBD can be inhaled through CBD cigarettes, cigarillos, and vapes. If this isn’t your favorite way of ingesting CBD, you could also try CBD gummies or you could use the topical methods of roll-ons and lotions.
2. They both are found in similar places
As mentioned above, CBD and nicotine have similar ways of consuming them. Because of this, they are found and can be purchased in similar places. Firstly, both products are age restricted. Nationwide, you must be 21 to buy any tobacco or nicotine products. CBD however, is restricted to those above 18 in general, but in some places you must be 21. The best way to find out what your state requires is by searching your state-specific CBD laws. The takeaway is that these products are not in any way tailored toward children.
More specifically, nicotine can be found in smoke shops, convenience stores, amazon (tobacco-free), and several brand websites. CBD can also be bought online, in smoke shops, and pharmacies. Unlike nicotine though, CBD can be purchased in dispensaries and health shops.
3. They are both found in nature
The third way in which CBD and nicotine are similar is that they are both based in and extracted from nature. Nicotine, an oil-like liquid, comes from the nicotiana tabacum plant, which is in the same family of plants as potatoes and red peppers. It acts as a natural insecticide for the plant and can be extracted from the tobacco to include in the various products mentioned above. CBD is also found in nature. It is extracted from hemp with the use of carbon dioxide, oil, or a solvent.
How are CBD and Nicotine different?
1. They come from completely different plants
Despite their similarities, it goes without saying that CBD and nicotine are actually quite different. Firstly, though they are both found in nature, they come from completely different plants. As mentioned above, nicotine comes from the nicotiana tabacum plant. This is referred to as a nightshade plant and is in fact in the same family as potatoes and red peppers. Nicotine’s role in these plants is to potentially act as a natural bug repellent or insecticide. CBD, however, comes from the cannabis sativa family, more specifically from hemp. It is extracted from this plant with the use of oil, carbon dioxide, or solvent. Again, CBD is extremely low in THC, so it doesn’t get you high.
2. They have completely different effects
CBD and nicotine are also very different in their effects. As previously stated, medical news today classifies nicotine as both a stimulant and a sedative that causes heightened alertness, dopamine, and wakefulness. It gives you a kick of energy and dopamine, the feel-good chemical. In comparison, CBD is very calming. According to webmd, it is anxiety reducing, pain relieving, and relaxation inducing. These effects are noticeably different, which explains why they are used in different settings and scenarios to achieve very different feelings.
They function through different mechanisms in the body
The third major difference between CBD and nicotine is that they function through different mechanisms in the body. CBD affects the endocannabinoid system, which involves endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Nicotine, on the other hand, travels through the bloodstream to the brain. It binds to cholinergic receptors, according to news-medical.net, and stimulates adrenal glands, providing a release of adrenaline.
Why do people choose CBD over nicotine?
1. Nicotine is addictive
A quite obvious reason that individuals may choose to use CBD rather than nicotine is because of how addictive nicotine is. We have all heard or seen firsthand how hard it is to quit smoking, which is due completely to how addictive nicotine is. According to Medical News Today, those who try to quit their nicotine usage face heavy withdrawals with the unfortunate side effects of cravings, irritability, and even depression. It makes sense then why people wouldn’t want to stop consuming this drug that keeps them away from those side effects.
The American Heart Association states that nicotine is equally as difficult to quit as the opioid drug heroin. Moreover the World Health Association have a statistic that over one billion people are smokers worldwide. The addictiveness of nicotine, specifically in cigarettes, has even led to the creation of nicotine replacement therapy. From this, it is clear to see that nicotine is very addictive and likely scares some people away from using it.
2. CBD consumption is better for the environment
A less known, but very relevant reason people may choose CBD over nicotine is its effects on the environment. CBD production and consumption is not only much better for the environment than nicotine and may even be beneficial for the environment. Truthinitiative.org estimates that about 800,000 metric tons of cigarette butts litter our environment per year. That is an insane amount of waste from cigarettes alone. Couple this with single-use puff bars, hard to degrade plastic filters, and air pollution, nicotine (and tobacco) manufacturing and consumption really is taking a toll on the planet.
Conversely, the plant from which CBD is derived, is actually good for the Earth. It doesn’t require many pesticides, holds water in the soil to resist droughts, and has recyclable biomass. Also, because of its high yield per hemp plant, it doesn’t cause nearly as much deforestation as tobacco does.
3. The benefits of CBD
As already explained, CBD is well known and loved for its many benefits. To reiterate, webmd mentions the benefits of CBD to include reducing anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Additionally, CBD is commonly used for pain relief. The only FDA approved medical use of CBD is Epidiolex, which treats childhood epilepsy. It wouldn’t be a surprise however if the FDA starts to approve more CBD uses as research advances.
The last thing to consider as to why CBD is sometimes chosen over nicotine is due to cost. CBD has the potential to be cheaper in the long term even if cigarettes are the cheaper option in the short term. One should consider the cost of addiction. Because nicotine is super addictive, one is obviously going to continue to buy nicotine products perhaps their whole life. This will add up. On top of that, the cost of one’s health problems that come with nicotine and addiction are sure to be pricey. This isn’t to say that one option is better than the other, but rather to inform you as to why CBD could be what suits you best.
Why do people choose nicotine over CBD?
1. The strong pleasurable buzz
After hearing why people might choose CBD over nicotine, let’s look at why some people, in fact many people, choose nicotine over CBD. First and foremost, nicotine has a unique, distinct, and strong buzz that provides an immense feeling of pleasure. According to vapingdaily.com, when you consume nicotine, it goes quickly to your brain on the path to release dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals give you a juxtaposition of calmness and pleasure along with energy and heightened focus. All of these feelings combined are what give nicotine its distinct buzz quality.
2. More familiarity in American pop culture (has been around longer)
Cigarettes are arguably a symbol of America, or at least of Hollywood. People trust nicotine more than CBD because that is what they’ve been exposed to more. Nicotine has been commonly used for about 2000 years. It was in the 1600s when the world became familiar with smoking pipes and cigars. Their popularity grew and it became the norm to see people smoking in movies on the big screen. Today, nicotine and tobacco brands can’t legally pay for product placement in the media, but for a while, that was how tobacco grew its reputation. Tobacco usage was for men and women alike. While smoking was a symbol of manhood in war and in Hollywood glamour, Marlboro branded themselves to be a woman’s cigarette. Nicotine’s wide appeal made it not only socially acceptable but gave people a reason to socialize.
3. Usually cheaper
Nicotine is sometimes the better or more appealing choice because of its affordability. According to worldpopulationreview.com, the average price per pack of cigarettes is $6.96. This means you get 20 cigarettes at about $0.35 each. That is a super great deal compared to CBD which ranges in its prices, costing up to $90 for a 2 oz jar of oil. Of course, it is easy to see that in this case a pack of cigarettes is cheaper than a jar of CBD oil, but one really should take into account how much of the product they will be using. If you are smoking one pack per day, CBD may end up being cheaper. However, that choice is completely up to you.
Conclusion: so what's the difference between CBD and nicotine?
Hopefully through this blog you have learned the distinctions between CBD and nicotine. CBD affects the body’s endocannabinoid system and provides pain relief and reduces anxiety. Nicotine circulates through the blood to the brain resulting in adrenaline and euphoria. They both come from nature, yet very different plants. They can both be pretty easily found all across the country and they can be consumed in similar ways. One is cheaper in the long run (CBD), while the other is cheaper on a daily basis (Nicotine). There are still tons of research to be done on CBD, but nicotine has been investigated for ages. From here, it is up to your which product you prefer: Maybe you want to try out both to decide what you like. Luckily, you now know what you are getting yourself into with both products!