Nicotine’s Effects on the Brain & Body & How to Quit Smoking or Vaping


Huberman Lab

In this episode, I explain how nicotine impacts the brain and body, including its potent ability to enhance attention, focus, and alertness, increase blood pressure and metabolism and reduce appetite. I discuss nicotine’s ability to increase the action of neurochemicals, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine and activate sympathetic (alertness-promoting) neural circuits. I also discuss common nicotine delivery methods, such as cigarettes, vaping, dip, and snuff, and how they each create their own unique experience and how they, but not nicotine itself, cause cancer and other adverse health effects. I also explain science-based tools to permanently quit smoking cigarettes or vaping, including peer-reviewed clinical hypnosis tools, antidepressants, and alternative nicotine replacement (patches, lozenges, gums etc.). As nicotine is one of the most widely used substances with billions of users — most of whom report wanting to quit — this episode ought to be of interest to former/current nicotine users, those who want to quit smoking or vaping and/or those interested in learning the biology behind how nicotine impacts the brain and body.

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(00:00:00) Nicotine

(00:03:41) Tool: Brief Daily Meditation & Focus

(00:05:59) The Arrow Model of Focus, Alpha GPC & Garlic Supplements

(00:10:05) Sponsor: LMNT

(00:14:35) Nicotine Effects vs. Methods of Delivery, Acetylcholine

(00:19:55) Where is Nicotine Found? Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors

(00:25:12) Nicotine & Effects on the Brain: Appetite, Dopamine & GABA

(00:29:37) Sponsor: AG1

(00:32:11) Nicotine, Acetylcholine & Attentional “Spotlighting”

(00:37:29) Nicotine, Norepinephrine & Alertness/Energy

(00:41:10) Nicotine & Effects on Appetite & Metabolism

(00:46:47) Nicotine & Effects on Body: Sympathetic Tone

(00:51:29) Nicotine & Cognitive Work vs. Physical Performance

(00:55:08) Nicotine Delivery Methods & Side Effects, Young People & Dependency

(00:58:35) Smoking, Vaping, Dipping & Snuffing: Carcinogens & Endothelial Cells

(01:02:34) Smoking, Vaping, Dipping & Snuffing: Negative Impacts on Lifespan & Health

(01:09:23) How to Quit Smoking, Nicotine Cravings & Withdrawal

(01:13:56) Vaping & Nicotine, Rates of Effect Onset, Dopamine, Addiction & Depression

(01:25:06) Tool: Quitting Smoking & Clinical Hypnosis, Reveri

(01:30:16) Bupropion (Wellbutrin) & Quitting Smoking

(01:36:24) Tool: A Nicotine Replacement Schedule to Quit Smoking, Nicotine Patch/Gum

(01:41:52) Tool: Biological Homeostasis & Nicotine Withdrawal, The “First Week” Strategy

(01:51:39) Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous Supplements, Neural Network Newsletter, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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