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Blunts, Spliffs, and Joints: What to Know Before You Roll Up

The terms blunt, spliff, and joint are often used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same. To make things a bit more complicated, pot lingo varies from place to place.

Here’s a look at what it all means in the United States.

Blunts are cigars that have had the tobacco removed and replaced with marijuana. They can also be rolled using tobacco leaf wrappers.

As for the name? It comes from the Phillies Blunt cigar brand.

According to various internet sources, blunts originated in New York as a method for smoking pot discreetly, among other things.

What to know

Here are some things to consider before you get out that tobacco leaf or hit the corner store for a blunt wrap:

  • Blunts containa lotmore pot.Cigars are a lot bigger than the average joint, which means they can hold a lot more pot. Smoking an entire blunt is roughly the equivalent of smoking six joints.
  • Cigars and their wrappers are highly toxic. Even if you remove the tobacco, high concentrations of cancer-causing nitrosamines and other toxins created during the fermentation process may remain. And because cigar wrappers are more porous than rolling papers, the burning is less complete, resulting in smoke that has higher concentrations of toxins.
  • You’re inhaling harmful toxins. All smoke is harmful to lung health, no matter what you’re inhaling. According to the American Lung Association, marijuana smoke contains a lot of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking pot usually involves inhaling deeper and holding large amounts of unfiltered smoke for longer. This exposes you to even more irritants and toxins that damage your lungs and airways.

A spliff is a blend of cannabis and tobacco, usually in cigarette rolling papers.

The word spliff is West Indian and is said to be a take on the words “split” — as in split the difference between weed and tobacco — and “whiff,” referring to the smell of the smoke. Or, perhaps, referring to how adding tobacco masks the smell of the pot.

What to know

Adding tobacco means less pot, which is good, right? Not necessarily.

Both marijuana and tobacco smoke can damage your lungs and increase your risk for several serious conditions. Adding tobacco to marijuana just means you’re getting the damaging effects of tobacco, too.

Here’s what you need to know before getting spliffy with it:

  • Smoking tobacco and weed together can increase your risk for addiction. There’s evidence that smoking marijuana with tobacco increases cannabis dependence symptoms. The two appear to balance out the negative symptoms caused by both. Smoked together, they also seem to enhance the enjoyable symptoms, such as relaxation. This makes a person less likely to notice the ill effects, and more likely to keep smoking.
  • Unfiltered tobacco smoke increases your risk for lung cancer and death. A recent study found that people who smoke unfiltered cigarettes are twice as likely to die from lung cancer and 30 percent more likely to die of any cause than smokers of filtered cigarettes. A spliff may contain less tobacco than a cigarette, but it’s still unfiltered tobacco smoke nonetheless.

Joints are the simplest of the bunch. They’re just ground marijuana rolled in cigarette papers. Sometimes people roll them with a crutch, which is basically just a stiffer bit of paper to hold the weed in place.

What to know

Unlike spliffs and blunts, which contain tobacco, joints contain nothing but cannabis and the paper it’s rolled in. The upside to smoking joints is that you’re not exposing yourself to tobacco or nicotine.

Still, they’re not much better for you:

  • Marijuana smoke can be just as harmful as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana irritates the lungs. People who smoke it often have the same breathing issues as tobacco smokers, such as chronic cough and frequent lung infections.
  • Smoking marijuana may cause air pockets in the lungs. According to the American Lung Association, smoking weed has been linked to the development of large air bubbles in the lungs and air pockets between both lungs and the chest wall in young to middle-aged adults who smoke a lot of pot.
  • Secondhand marijuana smoke may be more dangerous than directly inhaled smoke.Secondhand marijuana smoke contains a lot of the same toxins and carcinogens as directly inhaled smoke and may even contain more, according to some research.

You might argue that joints are better for you because there’s no tobacco in a joint, but the benefit is minimal.

There’s no safe way of smoking anything. Joints, spliffs, blunts, pipes, bongs — they all carry risks.

A blunt can be several things, depending on who you ask. We'll take a look at what it usually refers to and how it compares to a joint or spliff.

Does marijuana “blunt” smoking contribute to nicotine exposure?: Preliminary product testing of nicotine content in wrappers of cigars commonly used for blunt smoking

Affiliations

  • 1 Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research, Battelle Memorial Institute, 6115 Falls Road, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research, Battelle Memorial Institute, 1100 Dexter Avenue North, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98109-3598, USA; Health Services Department, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
  • 3 Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research, Battelle Memorial Institute, 6115 Falls Road, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD, USA.
  • PMID: 27639129
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.09.007

Does marijuana “blunt” smoking contribute to nicotine exposure?: Preliminary product testing of nicotine content in wrappers of cigars commonly used for blunt smoking

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Authors

Affiliations

  • 1 Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research, Battelle Memorial Institute, 6115 Falls Road, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research, Battelle Memorial Institute, 1100 Dexter Avenue North, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98109-3598, USA; Health Services Department, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
  • 3 Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research, Battelle Memorial Institute, 6115 Falls Road, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD, USA.
  • PMID: 27639129
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.09.007

Abstract

Introduction: An increasingly popular method of consuming marijuana is through the smoking of “blunts,” cigar products in which some or all of the tobacco filler is removed and repacked with marijuana. Even if all tobacco filler is removed from the cigar product in the process of making blunts, nicotine may be present in the wrapper of the cigar product. This preliminary analysis quantified the nicotine content in wrappers of cigar products commonly used for blunt smoking.

Methods: Five cigar products (3 large cigars, 2 cigarillos) were tested, yielding physical characteristics of cigar length, diameter, weight, and wrapper weight. Nicotine concentration in the wrapper of each cigar product was analyzed via gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Total nicotine content in the wrapper of each cigar product was computed as the product of cigar wrapper weight and nicotine concentration in wrapper.

Results: Depending on the product, the cigar wrapper contributed between 8 and 18% of the weight of the entire cigar article. Total nicotine content in the cigar wrapper ranged from 1.2 to 6.0mg per cigar.

Discussion: All 5 tested cigar products had wrappers that contain quantifiable levels of nicotine, indicating that users of blunts may expose themselves to some degree of nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco. Future experimental studies that examine the efficiency of nicotine delivery from typical blunt smoking, as well as surveillance studies that quantify the number of blunts smoked by an individual per day, are needed to evaluate the contribution of blunt smoking to nicotine dependence.

Keywords: Blunts; Cannabis; Marijuana; Nicotine; Smoking; Tobacco.

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

All 5 tested cigar products had wrappers that contain quantifiable levels of nicotine, indicating that users of blunts may expose themselves to some degree of nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco. Future experimental studies that examine the efficiency of nicotine delivery from typical blunt …