A study recently published in the journal Addiction surveyed British adults and found that participants claimed to be “non-smokers” even though they smoke cannabis.
According to The Guardian, researchers of this study are concerned. They feel that the study’s results mean that cannabis smokers don’t realize that many of the dangers of tobacco smoke are also present if cannabis is smoked instead of vaped or ingested.
The study examined the habits of 13,000 adults, and estimates that 380,000 people who claim to be non-smokers are actually smoking cannabis on a weekly basis, or more. “It is extremely concerning,” said Hannah Walsh of King’s College London, one of the researchers involved in the study. “It is possible that they do not realize they are putting their health at risk. It’s also a concern that people may be unwittingly establishing a tobacco addiction, with cannabis acting as their route into a lifetime of smoking tobacco.”
“This exposes participants to cotinine (the main metabolite of nicotine found in the bloodstream) levels suggestive of moderate tobacco exposure, equivalent to that found in light/moderate cigarette smokers,” the study explains. It also points out that mixing cannabis and tobacco, such as when rolling a blunt or spliff, can be harmful.
“Government generally sees cannabis and tobacco as separate issues, but plainly their use is deeply interwoven,” said Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health in the UK. “There is an opportunity to address this in the government’s planned Addiction Strategy. This strategy must include measures to tackle the overlapping use of cannabis and tobacco and the resulting harm to health.”
While it is true that cigarettes contain many additives that are unhealthy, even smoking raw tobacco, or raw cannabis, can be harmful because of smoke inhalation. It is important that cannabis consumers understand that smoking cannabis can be dangerous, and alternatives like vaping and edibles are likely safer vehicles for consumption.