Adding Tobacco to Cannabis Won’t Increase the High, But it Could Help with Memory Loss
A new study found that rolling up spliffs instead of joints could hurt your health, but help your recall.
Published on June 3, 2017

It may sound strange to all-natural stoners in California or Colorado, but in Europe, and some cigarette-loving areas of the U.S., mixing a little bit of loose tobacco into a joint is the norm. Spliff proponents say that adding tobacco gets you higher and makes the paper burn better, but a new study from the University College London suggests that might all be smoke and mirrors.

According to Leafly, the study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, concluded that spliffs don’t actually improve users high, but they do lessen the memory-killing effects of cannabis.

“There’s a persistent myth that adding tobacco to cannabis will make you more stoned, but we found that actually, it does nothing to improve the subjective experience,” Chandni Hindocha, a clinical psychologist and the study’s lead author, said.

To get their data, researchers looked at 24 “healthy, non-dependent but experienced users of cannabis and tobacco.” The smokers participated in four sessions that had them smoke joints with four different make-ups - cannabis and tobacco, cannabis and a placebo, tobacco and a placebo, and all placebo.

Researchers measured participants’ heart rate, blood pressure and asked about psychoactive effects before testing their memory by asking them to recite literary passages they had been read at different intervals before and after smoking.

Subjects who smoked only cannabis had the most severe memory loss, and researchers hypothesize that the better recall from spliff smokers could back-up past studies that suggests nicotine increases concentration.

But while it might make you remember where you put your wallet, the cannabis and tobacco mix also resulted in higher heart rates for research participants, suggesting that spliffs are worse for cardiac health than a regular joint. After all, it would take a whole lot of memory loss to forget how bad cigarettes are for the human body.

Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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