Nicotine is a miraculous substance.
And it’s been used for hundreds of years.
It’s especially interesting that people that love nicotine often are people in a stressed-out or depressed state.
People who are in prison, or in a hospital are more likely to enjoy nicotine.
People smoke who are stressed out and maybe, just maybe they are self-medicating.
In the old days, you had to actually smoke to get nicotine.
But now, of course, you can chew nicotine gum.
Even better than the gum perhaps, you can use the transdermal nicotine patches.
The patches are efficient, and they’re inexpensive.
They’re especially inexpensive when compared to expensive medications.
This was an excellent study.
Dr. McClernon has spent years at Duke University researching nicotine, smoking, and depression.
And Dr. McClernon’s research is not pro-tobacco or pro smoker at all.
Here are just some of the other studies that he’s participated in:
- Sweitzer, MM, Geier, CF, Denlinger, R, Forbes, EE, Raiff, BR, Dallery, J, McClernon, FJ, and Donny, EC. “Blunted striatal response to monetary reward anticipation during smoking abstinence predicts lapse during a contingency-managed quit attempt.”Psychopharmacology 233, no. 5 (March 2016): 751-760. Full Text
- McClernon, FJ, Conklin, CA, Kozink, RV, Adcock, RA, Sweitzer, MM, Addicott, MA, Chou, YH, Chen, NK, Hallyburton, MB, and DeVito, AM. “Hippocampal and Insular Response to Smoking-Related Environments: Neuroimaging Evidence for Drug-Context Effects in Nicotine Dependence.” Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 41, no. 3 (February 2016): 877-885. Full Text
- Cortese, BM, Uhde, TW, Brady, KT, McClernon, FJ, Yang, QX, Collins, HR, LeMatty, T, and Hartwell, KJ. “The fMRI BOLD response to unisensory and multisensory smoking cues in nicotine-dependent adults.” Psychiatry Research 234, no. 3 (December 2015): 321-327. Full Text
- Addicott, MA, Pearson, JM, Kaiser, N, Platt, ML, and McClernon, FJ. “Suboptimal foraging behavior: a new perspective on gambling.” Behavioral Neuroscience 129, no. 5 (October 2015): 656-665. Full Text
- Addicott, MA, Sweitzer, MM, Froeliger, B, Rose, JE, and McClernon, FJ. “Increased Functional Connectivity in an Insula-Based Network is Associated with Improved Smoking Cessation Outcomes.” Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 40, no. 11 (October 2015): 2648-2656. Full Text
Let’s get back to nicotine and depression.
In this study, they gave one group of people nicotine patches.
Then they gave a second group of people placebo patches that contained no nicotine.
In other words, this was a gold standard randomized controlled trial.
They found that the people who had nicotine patches experienced much less depression.
Then the researchers reduced the amount of nicotine in the patches.
The participants did not know that the dosages had been changed.
The people who had the lowered nicotine dosages experienced their depression symptoms returning.
In other words, nicotine powerfully combats depression, even major depression.
The researchers conclude,
nicotinic compounds should be evaluated for treating depression symptoms.
But hey, we already have nicotinic compounds.
There are two actually.
One of them is simple nicotine patches.
You can take nicotine in a patch or gum as we discussed, or you can even (gasp) smoke.
If you don’t want to inhale you can smoke a cigar, or pipe.
Or vape, because vaping (e-cigarettes) is probably quite safe compared to smoking tobacco.
There is less carbon monoxide, and you can control what you are taking into your body.
What you can try instead of nicotine is niacinamide (also called nicotinamide).
Niacinamide is the official name for vitamin B3.
This is one of many studies that show that vitamin B3 in various forms can combat even major depression.
There are also a number of human studies for vitamin B3.
Dosages are in the range of 500 mg to 2500 mg per day in split doses.
The doses are split to help the body get the most use out of this short-lived vitamin.
The half-life in the human body of vitamin B3 is very short, around 30 minutes.
So it may be good to put your vitamin B3 into a tasty shake and sip it during the day.
Before you try this, make sure you talk to your doctor.
You’ll want to discuss the nicotine idea with your doctor.
Try these things out.
They may be much more time-tested and more proven than a lot of the expensive and potentially dangerous drugs that big Pharma has come out with.
And they certainly seem to work as well or maybe even better.
You may wonder what to do about the addictive nature of nicotine?
You will want to weigh the addictive qualities of nicotine against the damage caused by depression.
Nicotine is habit-forming for many people.
Some people consider it extremely addictive while other people consider it not addictive at all.
My personal experience with nicotine is that I can take it or leave it.
But I do like it.
So I do have some now and then.
But I don’t have to have it every day or even every week or even every month.
I hope that you have good experiences with it too if you decide to use it.
Transdermal nicotine attenuates depression symptoms in nonsmokers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
Antidepressant-like effect of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide in the forced swim test in rats