Why is cannabis mixed with tobacco?

By: Contributor Culture

In all cultures of the world, the use of cannabis is mainly associated with inhalation through smoking. But why are there regions where cannabis is used in its pure form, while in others it is mixed with tobacco? In this article you will discover the possible historical/cultural reasons that mark the difference in the habit of using cannabis with or without tobacco.

In a society that is increasingly concerned about well-being, it’s important to reflect on the habit of mixing cannabis with tobacco and learn to separate the two. Consumers should be aware that the effects of this mixture don’t seem to provide any benefits but in fact quite the opposite: tobacco is terrible for health and, according to the World Health Organisation, kills more than 8 million people a year worldwide, which makes it the first avoidable cause of death at global level.

For this unequivocal reason, maybe it is time to rethink the habit of mixing both substances, which is something that smokers flee like the plague in other parts of the world. According to recent statistics, there is a very marked difference between Europe and the rest of the world:

  • In the United States, Mexico, and Brazil, more than 90% of users consume cannabis in its pure form, whereas in Canada and New Zealand it is over 80% of users that smoke cannabis in this way.
  • On the contrary, 77-90% of European users have the habit of mixing cannabis with tobacco.
  • In Australia, there is a balance (50%) between the two types of consumers.

Cannabis mixed with tobacco: health risks

Using cannabis mixed with tobacco is more harmful to health than when they’re smoked separately. The mix also presents an increased risk of dependence, making it more difficult to reduce the use of both substances.

Generally speaking, the act of smoking negatively affects the respiratory system, causing irritation and different diseases. In addition, the combustion process releases substances that promote cellular aging, cardiovascular disease, and carcinogenic processes.

These risks are increased when cannabis is mixed with tobacco, because the latter has been treated and contains substances that are toxic to the human body. Besides, tobacco contains nicotine, a substance that creates a certain degree of dependence and causes hormonal, cardiovascular, and psychological changes.

Why is cannabis mixed with tobacco?

Trying to find a single reason for this trend is rather difficult. In actual fact, it probably comes down to a combination of several factors:

  • Relationship with tobacco use: Considering that tobacco use in Europe is much more popular than in the American countries, it is logical that European smokers also consume it mixed with cannabis. Interestingly, Europeans only discovered tobacco and began using it in the 16th century, when it started being imported from South America. Probably because it is a recent and novel substance with no traditional use in the Old Continent, tobacco consumption has occurred in a much more abusive way than where it originates from.
  • Cannabis availability: Another reason why cannabis is mixed with tobacco is because of its limited availability. It’s important to remember that, historically and similarly to what happens with tobacco, cannabis is not native to Europe. It originates from eastern countries such as India and Afghanistan, North African countries such as Morocco, and other countries in Central America. Therefore, it is easily understood that cannabis has always been used in its pure form in those countries due to its great availability. On the other hand, access to cannabis in most European countries has usually been more difficult, so mixing it with tobacco enables users to take advantage of the scarce amount of marijuana for a longer period.
  • Cannabis format: In the American countries there is greater access to cannabis and more space for cultivation, so the use of cannabis in its pure form (i.e. flowers) is much more popular. On the other hand, the Eastern and North African traditions have given way to the habit of consuming hashish, a practice that has expanded much further in Europe than in America. Hashish is mixed with tobacco more frequently than cannabis flowers, and many European users have used only hashish for decades, which is another reason why mixing cannabis with tobacco is more common in Europe.
  • Economic factors: the price of a product logically influences the frequency of its consumption. Therefore, in countries where tobacco is cheaper, there is a larger number of smokers in comparison to other countries where its price is higher. At the same time, and due to its low availability, the price of cannabis in Europe is higher than in the American countries, which means that it is more often mixed with tobacco to make it last for longer.
  • Alternative consumption methods: The most common cannabis consumption methods in America include vaporisation, sublingual use, and ingestion, i.e. methods that don’t require mixing the cannabis with tobacco. In Europe, however, the use of these alternative formats is a more recent and less widespread concept. In addition, while Europeans use tobacco almost exclusively in smoked form, it is common among Americans to use alternative methods such as chewing tobacco. These patterns may be representative of a certain difference in attitude and mental openness, especially between America and Europe: while European culture is much more anchored in traditions, the American culture is more open to exploring alternatives and possibilities that can reduce health risks.
  • Type of effect: there is a popular belief that cannabis has a stronger effect when mixed with tobacco, probably by interaction with nicotine. In reality though, the sensation doesn’t seem to be stronger but rather different, as the nicotine’s stimulating effect on cognitive functions somewhat counteracts the effect of the cannabis. In fact, mixing cannabis with tobacco may represent a strategy to actually make the effect lighter. This difference in the type of psychoactivity contributes to explaining the divergence in consumption patterns. European users are accustomed to the resulting effect of mixing cannabis and tobacco, so using cannabis alone can lead to more negative side effects, such as tachycardia, anxiety, and mental confusion. On the contrary, American users are accustomed to the use of cannabis in its pure form, so mixing it with tobacco may “worsen” the effects, resulting in an organoleptic and overall experience that may actually be unpleasant.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.