PainRelief.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that individuals who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes are much more likely to use tobacco products than those in the general population. About 14% of US adults smoke cigarettes and 4.5% use e-cigarettes. In contrast, we found that almost 40% of our sample of people who used cannabis for therapeutic purposes used tobacco products.
PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Importantly, the way in which people used tobacco products was associated with the way in which they used cannabis. People who did not smoke tobacco products (those who vaped or those who did not use any tobacco products) were much more likely to vape, rather than smoke cannabis. This is important because noncombustible routes of administration (e.g., vaping) are less harmful than combustible (e.g., smoking) routes of administration. If medical marijuana dispensary staff are interested in steering their clients to safer routes of administration, then knowing their clients’ tobacco use history may be important when having that discussion.
PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: I think there are many opportunities to expand on this research. While we assessed tobacco use in this population, we did not assess for simultaneous use of tobacco and cannabis (e.g., spliffs, blunts) and that is also a growing category of cannabis and tobacco use. It would also be worthwhile to see if medical marijuana dispensaries could contribute to tobacco control by introducing individual-level or public health level interventions for individuals who use tobacco products. Cannabis use is increasing with state-level initiatives allowing the sale of recreational and medical marijuana and there are many important avenues of research for the future.
Marc L. Steinberg, Rachel L. Rosen, Benjamin Billingsley, Drashya Shah, Michele Bender, Kyra Shargo, Affan Aamir, Mary Barna Bridgeman. Tobacco/nicotine use among individuals using cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The American Journal on Addictions, 2022; DOI: 10.1111/ajad.13323
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