Do you spin your cannabis with tobacco? This article will illustrate how you can manage a healthier relationship with weed. How? Kick the tobacco demon.
Spin to Win
Many folks consider tobacco and cannabis to be a match made in heaven. At one time, this even included myself. The phenomenon is global; much like cheese and wine, the two substances make for a dynamic duo. Between 77.2% and 90.9% of European cannabis users apply tobacco in their spliffs, blunts and/or bongs, compared to 51.6% of Australian and 20.7% of New Zealanders.
In general, joints without some sort of mixed herb often struggle to burn with consistency, which only lends to the popularity of spun cannabis. Recently, however, a greater number of smokers and cannabis advocates have called for cannabis users to stick purely to the leaf. So, what makes spinning tobacco with cannabis so dangerous, exactly?
The mainstream public has been well aware for decades now that cigarettes do not promote longstanding health and wellbeing. Though if I were just here to tell you how bad they were, this article would write itself; an increased risk of strokes, heart disease and a laundry list of cancers have crowned tobacco as one of the leading causes of death in the western world. Other ailments include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and mouth disease.
It almost goes without saying that smoking spliffs will increase the risk of experiencing the negative consequences usually associated with tobacco.
What’s really interesting is that the synthesis of cannabis and tobacco forms a different beast in and of itself, which is partly why the humble ‘spliff’ has become such a worldwide phenomenon. Spinning facilitates a unique smoking experience, unlike either of the drugs in isolation. Nicotine is incredibly addictive; it acts upon the opioid receptors in the brain, providing an instantaneous calm, along with a sensation of lightheaded pleasure. [Editor’s note: I want a smoke so badly right now.]
Tobacco also releases adrenaline, increasing your heart rate along with your blood pressure. Cannabis induces similar sensations; combine the two together and you get a powerful psychoactive that induces an intoxicating muscle relaxing effect. Moreover, nicotine and THC are both known to induce their own euphoric ‘head high’, which only enhances the experience of mixing the substances together.
Mixing cannabis with tobacco will even have you feeling the effects of the weed much quicker, with more THC for the body to absorb. A fascinating study from 2009 found that when tobacco and cannabis were combined together, higher levels of THC were actually available to the body. The study compared the THC delivered to the bloodstream via a spliff and a joint. The pure joint contained 32.70 milligrams per gram, with the spliff containing 58.90 milligrams per gram. These tests ultimately revealed that tobacco increases the vaporisation efficiency of THC by around 45%, on average.
The Trouble With Spin
Spinning isn’t all fun and games, though. It’s known that cannabis smokers who mix tobacco into their joints are statistically five times more likely to exhibit signs of substance dependence. This is confirmed by certain trends, including the fact that most people who end up smoking spliffs do not stop at just one. They repeat the occasion over and over, perhaps hundreds or thousands of times.
What’s more, the tars and toxins caught by cigarette filters become more available to the lungs in a spliff. Admittedly, it is rare to see someone chain-smoking spliffs in the same fashion as a packet of cigarettes. Nevertheless, continuous long-term use of cannabis and tobacco can lead to nasty health effects, much like the ones we know about from the plain packaging ads.
In the process of combustion, cannabis also releases its own share of carcinogens. Luckily, cannabis also has potent anti-carcinogenic properties. It probably won’t counteract the worst effects of tobacco, but it will provide some protection to your system… assuming the alternative is pure cigarette smoke.
Spliffs can be a highly pleasurable experience in the right context, but they aren’t that great for you over the long term. If you’re intent on smoking, then at least be aware of the risks. Pure cannabis is certainly the healthier option – if you’re concerned about that sort of thing. You don’t necessarily need to smoke it, either. Other methods have proven less taxing on the body, including edibles and/or vaporisation.
Finally, if you still want to go with a joint, consider using all-natural papers that lack any mysterious additives.
Stay safe out there!