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Why Blunts Are Bad For You: It’s Not About The Marijuana

Here’s a word problem worthy of Euclid himself: Cannabis can be mildly addictive; tobacco is super addictive. What happens when you put them together? Blunts that are extra-super addictive.

I think that’s called a geometric progression. Maybe it’s exponential. I can’t remember, because I’m a lover and not a mathematician.

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What I do know, though, is that I didn’t just make up that syllogism (or whatever it is). It’s an actual, scientific finding of a British research team that was published in the July 2016 issue of Frontiers in Psychiatry. Says lead author Chandni Hindocha, “[M]ixing tobacco with cannabis [blunts] lowers the motivation to quit using these drugs.”

Hindocha’s team of five researchers on two continents analyzed the responses of 33,687 cannabis users from 18 countries in Europe and the Americas who detailed their use of cannabis in answering the 2014 Global Drug Survey. That’s an anonymous online survey conducted every year in conjunction with media outlets such as Die Zeit, The Guardian, Libération, and the Huffington Post (whoops! that’s going to skew some results!). . The researchers found that 66 percent of cannabis users worldwide smoke it mixed with tobacco, typically rolled in a joint called a spliff (as if you didn’t know…).

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The mechanics of cannabis usage (the “route of administration” or ROA in medical jargon) matters because it correlates with both users’ desire to quit (either tobacco or marijuana) and their ability to do so. Compared with people who smoked their cannabis mixed with tobacco, the people who use both substances separately were 62 percent more likely to want to cut down on cannabis and 81 percent more wanted to use less tobacco. 104 percent more were seeking help to cut back on tobacco.

While these present an interesting insight into the mechanics of addiction, they are of more practical use in Europe, where the rate of people who take their weed with tobacco ranges from 77 percent to 91 percent. Here in the States it’s a mere 4.4 percent—a statistic that led the Global Health Survey to honor us Americans as the “safest smokers” in the world.

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