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how much nicotine is in a blunt wrap

The All-American Drug Blog

Highlighting issues of drug use and addiction from an epidemiological perspective

How much tobacco is in a marijuana blunt?

Since marijuana ‘blunt’ smoking (i.e., rolling marijuana inside a hollowed cigar) is quite popular in the US, my research has been trying to understand the causes and potential health consequences of this mixing of tobacco and marijuana. However, a vexing and unanswered question is the degree to which blunt smokers are even exposed to nicotine. Working with my collaborators at Johns Hopkins and RTI International, our recent research begins to answer this question. I’ve been invited to present these new findings at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) conference in June 2016. Below is the abstract for our late-breaking research:

Nicotine content of cigar shells and wraps used for making marijuana blunts

Brian J. Fairman, Brian F. Thomas, and Ryan G. Vandrey

Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

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).

Since marijuana 'blunt' smoking (i.e., rolling marijuana inside a hollowed cigar) is quite popular in the US, my research has been trying to understand the causes and potential health consequences of this mixing of tobacco and marijuana. However, a vexing and unanswered question is the degree to which blunt smokers are even exposed to nicotine.…