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Smoking Cannabis Without Tobacco: Pros & Cons of Pure Cannabis

Mixing cannabis with tobacco is a commonplace activity in Europe, but almost blasphemed in the USA. Why do people mix cannabis with tobacco in the first place? We explore this phenomenon and give alternatives to tobacco for those wanting to kick the habit!

In the USA, Canada, and South America, it’s almost blasphemous to mix cannabis with tobacco. In Europe, mixing is much more commonplace, and is even considered to be the “normal” way to use cannabis.

At the end of the day, cannabis users mix with tobacco for a number of reasons. It may be because they prefer the taste, the effect, or simply because they don’t want to put 1 or 2 grams in a single joint.

The advent of the cannabis revolution brought to the world an infinite number of ways to consume cannabis. The more that consumers become aware of the health risks associated with smoking, the more they are turning to edibles, vaping products, and extracts for oral consumption.

Despite these new ways to use cannabis, smoking is still many people’s preferred method of administration. In this article, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of mixing cannabis with tobacco, and we will share some alternatives to tobacco for mixing.

The cannabis vs. tobacco debate

There is a common school of thought that cannabis smoke is well tolerated by the body, while tobacco smoke leads to all kinds of cancers — lung, colon and rectal to name a few. But this is only partially true.

Most academic literature on the topic confirms that pure cannabis smoke does not cause lung cancers. Donald P. Taskin’s 2012 research is one such example, corroborated by previous studies as demonstrated in this 2008 literature review.

However, while cannabis smoke is not directly linked to lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it still damages the bronchioles of the lung. In fact, cannabis smoke is still carcinogenic, although not equally to tobacco. In this way, the argument that cannabis smoke is well tolerated by the body is a myth.

Habitual cannabis smoking (such as a joint on the weekends) is not considered to be of any great danger for the general population. In the studies mentioned above, however, it is clearly indicated that things become more complex in heavy or chronic cannabis smokers. The likelihood of developing a respiratory disorder increases in long-term cannabis smokers.

Regular cannabis users — especially those who use cannabis medicinally — are urged to consider the alternative methods of cannabis consumption. It may not be as dangerous as smoking tobacco, but it is nonetheless linked with dangers of its own.

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Smoking cannabis with tobacco vs. smoking pure cannabis: the pros and cons

If you don’t smoke tobacco at all, it seems like there are no pros to mixing cannabis with tobacco. But for the lover of the spliff (the mixed joint), there are just as many pros as there are cons. We’re breaking them down, one by one.

The benefits of mixing tobacco with cannabis

1. Your cannabis lasts longer

To virtually everybody that mixes, this is one of the most obvious benefits. For most people, ¼ to ½ gram is enough weed for a joint, and anything more is excessive. Most pure joints contain at least one gram, which to spliff smokers, is a complete waste of weed. Plus, nobody likes relighting a joint that they’ve already put out.

2. A spliff burns better than a joint

Arguably, the reason tobacco mixing became so popular in Europe was because for a long time, hash was the main commodity (not flowers). To smoke hash pure, it required a special pipe for hashish. However, it could be smoked in a joint providing there was tobacco or some other herbal mix.

Europeans still see cannabis flowers the same way: without a pipe, it’s almost impossible to smoke a pure joint without having to relight it before every puff. Tobacco helps the joint burn much more smoothly, mitigating the issue of it constantly going out.

3. The taste

This pro is arguably a con, too. To lovers of tobacco, the taste of a spliff is unmatched. Of course, to haters of tobacco the opposite is true. There are many spliff smokers out there who believe there’s no greater marriage than tobacco and cannabis, like peanut butter and jelly or strawberries and cream!

4. Mixing with tobacco intensifies the effect of cannabis

There’s no doubt that mixing with tobacco somehow alters the effects of cannabis. Nicotine and tobacco have cerebral effects of their own, and when used in conjunction with cannabis, it seems that tobacco potentiates the effects of cannabis. The high is less “clear” and more “cloudy”, giving the feeling that the high is intensified.

The benefits of smoking pure cannabis

1. You can enjoy the taste of pure cannabis

The smell and taste of cannabis are among the most important aspects of the cannabis experience. In fact, the smell and the taste tell a person a lot about the quality of the cannabis they are smoking. When you smoke pure weed, you get the full aromatic experience of weed without it being hindered or interfered with by any other plant (such as tobacco or other smoking mixes).

2. There is less chance of addiction

Typically, cannabis is considered far less addictive than tobacco. However, one 2016 study identified a higher risk of dependency for those who mix cannabis with tobacco. While this “addiction” may be to the tobacco inside the joint, the result is a dependency on the whole joint. Smoking pure cannabis reduces the likelihood of developing a cannabis dependence.

3. A pure cannabis joint means a pure cannabis high

Lovers of cannabis want the effects of cannabis — not the effects of cannabis mixed with tobacco. The experience of pure weed is different to the experience of mixed weed in multiple respects. We already mentioned the taste and smell, but the high itself is also much clearer when smoked pure. For some, this clear-headed high is preferable to the sometimes-too-intense high that can be had when mixing.

4. Smoking pure cannabis doesn’t damage your taste buds or olfactory senses like tobacco does

It is common for tobacco smokers to report a lacklustre sense of smell and taste. On the contrary, cannabis heightens taste and smell sensitivity. Pure cannabis does not interfere with these senses. It doesn’t take long after tobacco cessation to regain full faculty of the nose and taste buds.

Why do people mix tobacco with cannabis? We talk about pure joints vs. mixed joints, and the pros and cons of both.

How to Smoke Hash Without Tobacco

There are several different ways in which one can consume hash, however, trends and patterns tend to vary by location. For example, in Spain, most of hash consumers tend to blend it with tobacco; whereas in Morocco is very common to consume it with a pipe. So if you want to smoke unblended hash, what options do you have?

Tobacco-free pipe (Sebsi)

A sebsi is typical Moroccan pipe; these pipes consist of a small clay/stone bowl connected to a narrow wooden tube/cylinder. For pipe smoking, just crumble the hash and put it in the bowl; fire it with a lighter, inhale through the cylinder edge and the smoke will pass, from the bowl to the cylinder, into your lungs. Usually, these pipes are made of completely natural materials, and their long-haul design provides a very smooth and enjoyable smoking experience.

At first glance, bongs, or water pipes may seem difficult to use – nothing could be more untrue; their functioning is really simple – similar to a sebsi: fire the hash with a lighter; when inhaling, the smoke is filtered and chilled by water. Usually, these are made of glass – easy-to-clean, cheap and light material.

Shisha pipe (Hookah)

Currently, shisha pipes – or hookahs – are trending. These also filter the smoke by water; however, the blend is not fired with the lighter – usually, with charcoal embers. A hookah is made of a head (where the hash would be placed broken into bits), covered by pierced aluminium foil – the charcoal which fires the substance is placed on it and a small valve purges the stale air from the interior of the bong. Moreover, it normally has a base, usually made of glass and contains the filtering water or liquid. Lastly, there is a hose – you inhale the filtered vapour.

Vaporisers

This modern extracting method is able to separate the psychoactive oils from vegetal material by means of heat and evaporation – not combusting toxic substances. The process consists in exposing the vegetal materials to a hot airflow – due to thermal processing, the psychoactive components are vaporised, the content passes to the air and it is concentrated in a plastic bag to be inhaled. This is a multi-pro system – same process for different hash-vapour bags, one of the healthiest ways to consume cannabis or cannabis derivatives.

There are several different ways in which one can consume hash, however, trends and patterns tend to vary by location. For example, in Spain, most of hash consumers tend to blend it with tobacco; whereas in Morocco is very common to consume it with a pipe. So if you want to smoke unblended hash, what options do you have? ]]>