Marijuana and nicotine are two popular drugs, but what happens when you use them together? That’s exactly what researchers from University College London in England set out to find. The team discovered that combining these two drugs won’t result in a greater high, but it may offset some of the memory loss associated with marijuana, while increasing heart rate.
The study contradicts the popular belief that tobacco increases the high from marijuana, The Daily Mail reported. Tobacco may limit weed's effect on memory, but it's still dangerous for users' health — the study showed that combining the products increased heart rate and blood pressure.
“There is a clear public health implication here, suggesting that smoking tobacco with cannabis does not improve the stoned feeling but is still worse for physical health,” said study co-author Val Curran in a recent statement.
Combining marijuana with tobacco is far more popular in Europe than the rest of the world. For the small study, the team had 24 marijuana users take part in four sessions of smoking different joints, either rolled with tobacco, a placebo, or just marijuana on its own. They then gave the smokers a memory test, took their heart rates and blood pressure, and had the users self-rate their overall mood and experience.
According to the research, because nicotine has been previously noted to help sharpen the mind, combining it with marijuana could help to offset the memory problem previously associated with this drug. Still, there are healthier and more effective ways to improve memory, and the researchers emphasize that their findings should not encourage marijuana users to combine their drug with tobacco.
Past research has also shown that this habit is more dangerous than it’s worth. In addition to exposing smokers to the many adverse health risks of tobacco use, mixing marijuana and tobacco may also increase the risk of developing an unhealthy dependence to marijuana by as much as 60 percent. A 2016 study surveyed 33,687 marijuana users from 18 countries throughout the world, and found that those who used the drug without tobacco were 61.5 percent more likely to seek professional help and were 80.6 percent more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
“Cannabis is less addictive than tobacco, but we show here that mixing tobacco with cannabis lowers the motivation to quit using these drugs,” said lead author Chandni Hindocha, The Daily Mail reported.
Source: Hindocha C, Freeman TP, Xia JX, Shaban NDC. Acute memory and psychotomimetic effects of cannabis and tobacco both ‘joint’ and individually: a placebo-controlled trial. Psychological Medicine . 2017