It seems there is a bit of confusion when it comes to addictive substances, at least in terms of how addictive tobacco and cannabis are. These are the two most used drugs in the world, according to data from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Roughly one billion people smoke tobacco while 182 million smoke cannabis.
And since these are the most two used drugs in the world, you might think it means they are equally as addictive. On the contrary, tobacco is far more dangerous—and addictive—than cannabis. Studies actually show that tobacco is more addictive from the first use, far more than cannabis.
So why is this important?
Well, new studies now show many cannabis users combine it with tobacco to save money. This allows them to use less marijuana per dose and also makes it easier to inhale the plant—which means less gets wasted (again, saving money).
Now, combining tobacco and cannabis might make it easier to smoke but it also makes it easier to get addicted.
According to lead study author Chandri Hindocha, “Cannabis dependence and tobacco dependence manifest in similar ways, so it is often difficult to separate these out in people who use both drugs.”
The University College London clinical psychopharmacology doctoral student goes on to say, “Cannabis is less addictive than tobacco, but we show here that mixing tobacco with cannabis lowers the motivation to quit using these drugs.”
The study examined 34,000 people who use marijuana through Global Drug Survey of 2014. Those who responded to the survey originated from 18 different countries across North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. Researchers report that 91 percent of the those from Europe declared they actually liked to mix the two plants. Australian respondents reported the same 52 percent of the time. Those in New Zealand were 21 percent more likely to combine them. This is followed by 16 percent of Canadians, 7 percent of Brazilians and Mexicans, and 4 percent of Americans.
In addition, King’s College London addiction specialist Michael Lynskey notes, “Our results highlight the importance of routes of administration when considering the health effects of cannabis.”
He continues, “Given a changing legislative environment surrounding access to cannabis in many jurisdictions, increased research focus should be given to reducing the use of routes of administration that involve the co-administration of tobacco.”