Research finds those who consume cannabis therapeutically more likely to use nicotine

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A new study explores the relationship between nicotine use and those who consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes and found those who use therapeutic cannabis are more likely to use nicotine products.  

The research, published in The American Journal on Addictions, was conducted by investigators at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The research team surveyed 697 patients between ages 18 and 89 at a medical marijuana dispensary on their nicotine and cannabis use, how they self-administered the cannabis, and the medical conditions that qualified them for using therapeutic cannabis.

According to the study, more than one-third (39.3 percent) of participants reported current nicotine use. Compared to exclusive cigarette smokers, e-cigarette users and non-users of nicotine were approximately four times more likely to vape, rather than to smoke, cannabis. In addition, 46.8 percent of cigarette smokers reported plans to quit smoking in the next six months and an additional 31.6 percent planned to quit in the next month. Having a psychiatric condition was associated with nicotine use and higher motivation to quit smoking.

“These findings reveal that while medical cannabis dispensaries may recommend vaping rather than smoking cannabis due to the health concerns associated with combustible products, this recommendation alone may not influence patients who also smoke cigarettes,” said co-author Marc Steinberg, PhD, author of the study and a professor in the department of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in a statement.