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how many cigarettes is a blunt equivalent to

The All-American Drug Blog

Highlighting issues of drug use and addiction from an epidemiological perspective

Five Marijuana ‘Blunts’ Are Equal One Cigarette

New preliminary findings suggest smoking five marijuana blunts could expose you to the nicotine equivalent of one cigarette. These and other findings related to nicotine exposure via blunts will be presented in June at the 2016 College on Problems of Drug Dependence conference.

What are marijuana ‘blunts’?

Blunts are marijuana smoked in cigar shells or tobacco rolling papers (a.k.a., cigar or blunt wraps). Blunt smoking is popular in the United States, where 1 in 2 current marijuana users report smoking some amount as blunts. Since cigar shells and wraps are made from tobacco, it stands to reason blunt smokers are exposed to nicotine and other harmful chemicals, but exactly how much remains unclear.

Collaborating with researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and RTI International, Dr. Fairman will be presenting new findings on the nicotine levels from cigar shells and wraps used for making blunts, as well as preliminary data on urine cotinine levels (a nicotine metabolite) from a small sample of daily blunt smokers who reported no other self-reported, personal tobacco use. These findings may help researchers better understand the potential health hazards from mixing these two drugs together.

These findings will be presented at the 2016 College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) conference held in Palm Springs, CA (June 11-16). This presentation will be during the “Late-Breaking” section, where researchers give a very brief (5 min) talk about their new findings. If you’re attending CPDD this year, please stop by and ask questions.

Nicotine content of cigar shells and wraps used for making marijuana blunts
Brian J. Fairman, Brian F. Thomas, and Ryan G. Vandrey
2016 College on Problems of Drug Dependence
When: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 @ 2:15-3:15pm
Where: Fiesta 6/8 (La Quinta Resort and Club: Palm Springs, CA)

Background: Half of past-month cannabis users in the US report “blunt” use, i.e., cannabis wrapped in a cigar shell. Significant nicotine exposure may result, affecting use patterns, dependence, and health-related harms, but the level of exposure is unclear. The present study assessed the nicotine content of cigar shells commonly used to make blunts and evaluated biomarkers of nicotine exposure in blunt users.

Methods: Gas chromatography (GC) was used to measure the nicotine content (mg/g) of cigar shells in 8 commercial products, including complete cigars and cigar wrappers sold without tobacco fill. Product weight (g) and median nicotine content were compared to standard reference cigarettes. Semi-quantitative (LOQ 200ng/mL) testing for cotinine, a nicotine metabolite, was conducted on urine samples from daily blunt users self-reporting no other nicotine/tobacco use (N=6).

New preliminary findings suggest smoking five marijuana blunts could expose you to the nicotine equivalent of one cigarette. These and other findings related to nicotine exposure via blunts will be presented in June at the 2016 College on Problems of Drug Dependence conference. What are marijuana 'blunts'? Blunts are marijuana smoked in cigar shells or tobacco…