For those looking to wean themselves off nicotine, finding alternatives to use alongside cannabis is crucial. Being able to smoke cigarettes or avoid getting started in the first place, separating your cannabis use from a nicotine addiction will undoubtedly have benefits.
Rolling up a joint with tobacco every time you smoke might be a bad idea. Although popular, there may be alternative, healthier ways to take cannabis. We’ll look at the effects of cannabis and nicotine separately, as well as compare different tobacco alternatives based on addiction and health.
Why Do People Mix Weed With Tobacco?
For those of us in Europe, a majority of people prefer to smoke raw cannabis flower with tobacco for a few reasons. It allows for an even burn, it’s perfect for packing out a spliff if you don’t want to smoke something too big, and many find that the harshness from the tobacco actually improves the flavor.
Could there be a fourth reason? Maybe the addictiveness of cigarettes makes smoking spliffs even more enjoyable.
Cannabis, Tobacco, and Addiction: What’s the Relationship?
The word “addiction” is used quite frequently, and even within discussions about addiction itself, there are other terms such as physical, behavioural, dependency; but what do they all signify?
The answer is not conclusive. In the DSM, addiction is now referred to as “substance use disorder (SUD).” The change in terminology was introduced to eliminate some of the conflict associated with the physical and behavioural addiction debate. By diagnosing a SUD, we are able to focus more on symptoms and behaviours rather than causes—which can be numerous and complex.
Addictions, on the other hand, have certain distinctions that must not be disregarded. Certain drugs have the ability to interact directly with neurotransmitters in the brain’s reward system, such as dopamine. These chemicals may be described as physiologically addictive.
Although other substances can also lead to addiction, they don’t usually have the same physical withdrawal symptoms because there is no physical dependency. Nevertheless, these indirect causes of reward circuitry Addiction are very real.
It’s no secret that smoking is addictive. Indeed, it’s the key to its popularity! Nicotine (the component drug in tobacco) can be considered a physically addicting drug. It imitates the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which regulates muscular movement, heart rate, memory, and more. Nicotine is a stimulant that activates the nervous system by mimicking the neurotransmitter acetylCholine, which influences muscle movement, heart rate, memory
So how does emulating acetylcholine cause an addiction or SUD? Nicotine molecules attach to nicotinic cholinergic receptors situated in the lungs and blood after inhaling smoke from a cigarettes. Most relevantly for addiction, nicotine also activates dopamine release.
Dopamine has a bad reputation because of its relationship to addictive drugs, but it is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that helps us learn and repeat behaviors that are good for us. Dopamine exists to teach us how to do things that are beneficial and wise, so we can continue doing them. Naturally, this turned into the custom of performing activities like eating. However, certain chemicals, such as nicotine, can also induce dopamine release, resulting in pleasure and encouraging compulsive behavior—or addiction.
Although cannabis doesn’t have the same level of physical addiction as tobacco, it’s important to note that this is now being challenged. And even if it isn’t physically addictive, that does not mean someone cannot develop a substance use disorder (SUD) with cannabis. In fact, there is a name for it: cannabis use disorder (CUD).
The mechanisms for cannabis addiction seem to be more nuanced than those for nicotine. Nicotine molecules directly trigger the release of dopamine, whereas this does not appear to be the case with cannabis.
A person’s liking of the cannabis effects is potentially due to a combination of reasons that may neurobiological, psychological, and social. For example, it is though that with continual Cannabis use, the body’s receptors (CB1 and CB2) become less responsive. Therefore, your body would not be able to process cannabinoids as well- meaning you would need more for the same effect.
It’s still uncertain how addictive cannabis may be, but it appears that using cannabis in conjunction with highly addictive nicotine products simply adds to addiction.
Mixing Tobacco and Weed
Even if we are able to distinguish between things consciously, the brain’s reward systems may not be so discerning. As a result, if you smoke cannabis and tobacco simultaneously, your brain may connect the nicotine addiction to cannabis rather than just tobacco.
Surprisingly, given how much research has been dedicated to smoking cannabis and tobacco separately, there is little investigating the effects of smoking them together. Furthermore, because tobacco use potentially magnifies Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), it warrants further examination to determine the significance of this correlation.
However, there is some research, such as that by Filbey, Gohel, Prashad, and Biswal, which suggests that the concurrent use of cannabis and cigarettes creates distinct brain states. They go on to say that despite this fact, it has not been demonstrated in all comparable studies and so conclusions should be avoided at this time.
Furthermore, it’s up for discussion whether smoking cannabis alone is any healthier for your physical health than smoking it with tobacco. It has been established that of the about 4,000 chemicals found in both cannabis and tobacco smoke, the majority are identical. This makes it impossible to determine if a joint (pure cannabis) has a greater health effect than a spliff (weed and tobacco).
We can be certain of one thing, though. If smoking cannabis alongside tobacco leads to nicotine addiction and then independents use of tobacco, this will significantly increase the probability of negative health effects. With that in mind, you may want to find alternatives to smoking weed without tobacco.
Alternatives to Smoking With Tobacco
There are many tobacco alternatives available to those who want to enjoy smoking weed. In fact, it is not necessary to smoke anything at all.
You can still smoke cannabis without inhaling tobacco in a number of ways. Rolling a joint is the simplest method. A “joint” may refer to many things throughout the world, but here we mean a cannabis roll-up that contains only cannabis.
If you want to add a little extra something-something, there are other materials you can burn with your weed. Some popular substitutes for tobacco include:
Vaping is another alternative if you want to quit smoking. And despite the fact that vaping often necessitates the use of e-liquids or oils, it does not always have to do so. Instead, you may buy vaporizers that are designed specifically for raw cannabis flower and utilize them at optimal temperatures to extract the greatest possible amount of cannabinoids and terpenes from your cannabis.
The general consensus is that vaping is healthier than smoking—though it’s still not entirely safe.
Some people might want to protect their lungs by not smoking or vaping at all, and edibles are a fantastic option for them. By infusing your cannabis into brownies, cookies, or anything else, you can ingest weed without harming your lungs . Not only does this method taste great , but it also lasts much longer than smoking or vaping weed would.