The effects of marijuana and tobacco when consumed together

Published May 2, 2019 10:33 a.m. ET
Canadian Press, Lars Hagberg

Marijuana use and tobacco smoking tend to go hand in hand since both require the same actions to perform as well as some level of comfort inhaling smoke into your lungs. If you smoke weed everyday and also sport a smoking habit, then this study is of special relevance to you. Scientific studies have been conducted on both substances separately in great length, but very few look at participants who use both to search for commonalities. As more and more countries introduce legislation to allow both medical marijuana and recreational cannabinoid products, it is important to understand what sort of effects these two common habits might have on one another.

The study

Cannabis researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina chose to conduct a study to investigate what is commonly referred to as co-use, and whether there is any noticeable difference between those who just smoke weed everyday and people who choose to use both together. Their primary focus was to study the interaction of the substances together and release the results to the public who is seeking real information to make informed decisions on what they chose to put into their body. Especially when it comes to the understanding of precisely how addictive marijuana use truly is.

The results

What the team at MUSC found was that more people chose only marijuana use, and those who did smoke used tobacco as a sort of chaser to enhance the felt effects from the THC. 26% of cigarette smokers reporting smoking the highest number of cigarettes either immediately before or after smoking marijuana, leading researchers to believe that cannabinoids can create a dependence on cigarettes when it’s consumed at the same time. They also noted that those who did not smoke cigarettes partook in marijuana use up to 50% less frequently.  

What this means

Though there are only a handful of other studies that seem to solidify this sort of effect, it’s still enough to take into consideration before smoking marijuana in combination with any other mind-altering drugs yourself. Researchers believe that these same findings will also translate to alcohol and other highly addictive substances, which is potentially concerning in terms of future marijuana users and their ability to regulate the intake of mind-altering elements.

In conclusion

Though other aspects such as how challenging it is for a pot smoker to quit smoking cigarettes, researchers now believe that marijuana use can significantly decrease a person’s chance of success in quitting any other substance, but especially tobacco. That leaves users struggling with two or more habits that may feel impossible to reduce. Further studies are needed to formulate a more appropriate plan for those who are struggling with quitting smoking while wanting to maintain regular THC consumption to increase the odds of them beating the habit for good. This does not mean that you can’t quit smoking if you choose marijuana use, it simply translates to a much more difficult time in doing so. It also seems to confirm the belief that tobacco mixed with cannabis likely increases the high felt by the user, which has been a long-held theory by pot enthusiasts for years. Though this research did not give any ultimate answers for treatment of either substance, it did give an in depth look into the struggles that cannabis smokers will face when quitting smoking, which will allow doctors and scientist to adjust currently utilized treatments in a manner that will help patients to achieve a higher frequency of success.

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