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Most of us know that cannabis is among some of the least harmful drugs out there, both legal and illegal. There have been no recorded overdoses and no deaths directly related to cannabis use. The use of tobacco however is obviously far more worrisome. Tobacco deaths exceed somewhere in the range of 400,000 globally every year. In the UK and the rest of Europe it is extremely common to mix tobacco with cannabis while smoking, which obviously brings with it expected, and some unexpected health risks.

We know that smoking tobacco with cannabis leads to a higher risk of cancer, but a study recently published in Frontiers in Psychiatry has suggested that smoking tobacco with cannabis can make it much harder to quit either of the drugs than smoking pure cannabis. The study looked at 30,000 participants in the Global Drug Survey and asked them about their experiences in regards to mixing cannabis with tobacco.

"Cannabis dependence and tobacco dependence manifest in similar ways, so it is often difficult to separate these out in people who use both drugs," said lead author Chandni Hindocha, a doctoral student at the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit of University College London, in a statement. "Cannabis is less addictive than tobacco, but we show here that mixing tobacco with cannabis lowers the motivation to quit using these drugs.”

In addition to this, it was found that people who smoke the two together were also less likely to want to slow or stop their cannabis use. Of course of there could be many reasons for this, people don’t want to quit for a variety of reasons, but compared to people that smoke pure cannabis, there was a general trend for them to be less able or willing to stop smoking.

The study went on to suggest that as cannabis is becoming legal in more jurisdictions, efforts should be in place to change methods of ingestion to avoid to use of tobacco to make cannabis consumption safer, something supported by many other groups, such as the CLEAR, a prominent cannabis advocacy group in the UK.

July 07, 2016 by Gareth Arnold

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