doesn't cannabis cause cancer anyway?
But if that isn't
enough there's more
So why haven't things changed?
harm reduction - what can cannabis users do for themselves
can the government do?
government and anti cannabis campaigners in general are usually only too eager
to warn about health risks of using cannabis, although the claims they make often
prove to be exaggerated or more often than not simply wrong, but for some reason
they never warn consumers about a very real danger, a danger caused by mixing
cannabis with a drug which is a known to be highly addictive and a carcinogen.
talking about tobacco of course. To be fair, it's not only the government that
doesn't want to talk about the way cannabis is usually smoked, most stoners don't
want to either. In the UK, most cannabis users roll joints - cannabis mixed with
dangers of tobacco are well known, its physically and psychologically highly addictive
and its carcinogenic - which means it causes cancer.
isn't included in the Misuse of Drugs Act (the law that prohibits cannabis) simply
because the government decided not to include it. This was an arbitrary decision
made by politicians which makes no sense whatsoever - and indeed the Act makes
no provision for a drug like tobacco to be excluded in this way - but is probably
at the heart of the reason why the situation has continued for so long.
as a result of this decision a lot of people don't really think of tobacco is
a drug even now, but it is one and in fact it's one of the most dangerous drugs
there is. In terms of the harm it can do tobacco is up there with heroin and crack
cocaine. So the aim of this campaign is to make cannabis users aware of this danger
- a danger which is easy to avoid.
aim of Tokepure is to encourage anyone who wants to use cannabis to toke pure
and to keep well away from tobacco.
age of the tobacco joint is over, help make it happen.
some respects, tobacco is not unlike cannabis. Both are plants and hence totally
natural herbs and both are smoked. When the plant material is burned chemicals
which affect the brain - which we call drugs - boil off and get sucked into the
lungs where they enter the bloodstream and make their way to your brain. Along
with the drugs of course comes lots of other smoke which you don't really want.
Anyway, this is where the similarity ends. Both plants contain very different
drugs which do very different things.
the government is normally eager to tell us tobacco is a killer. In fact Tobacco
is responsible for 140,000 deaths each year in the UK alone and 5.4 million deaths
worldwide according the World Health Organisation. Clearly, whatever the dangers
of smoking cannabis might be, adding tobacco to the mix is only going to make
things much, much worse.
big claim for cannabis is that it has never directly killed anyone and as far
as we know, that is true
doesn't cannabis cause cancer anyway?
smoke does include carcinogens - compounds which cause cancer - as lab experiments
have shown. Because of these lab studies prohibition campaigners have claimed
that smoking cannabis is something like four times more dangerous than tobacco,
but as with so many of the claims these people make they don't stand up to proper
study and in fact the truth seems to be the exact opposite.
big study in the US (read
it here) found "that the association of these (lung) cancers with marijuana,
even long-term or heavy use, is not strong and may be below practically detectable
limits" and another study (read
it here) found that "Smoking only marijuana was not associated with an
increased risk of respiratory symptoms or COPD." COPD is "chronic obstructive
lung disease" - it's not nice and is strongly connected with tobacco smoking.
Another study demonstrated that cannabis and tobacco are not equally carcinogenic,
with tobacco being far more dangerous than cannabis (read
it here). Although cannabis smoke contains cancer causing chemicals, studies
have found that one of the main ingredients of cannabis, THC, has anti cancer
the truth seems to be that not only is cannabis smoked alone in fact far safer
than tobacco in terms of what it does to your lungs but that that smoking the
two together may be the worst of both worlds. This is serious stuff.
lets be honest here, we are not saying smoking cannabis is harmless. Breathing
in any smoke is bad for you and the less you breath in the better; but mixing
cannabis and tobacco is adding a level of harm cannabis by itself doesn't seem
to have, or at the very least is making any such risk massively greater. Lung
cancer is a nasty illness that kills by a slow painful death, it really is something
to be avoided.
taken with a vaporiser carries none of the risks of smoking whatsoever.
cannabis is used
75% of cannabis is smoked in joints mixed with tobacco, 5% in pure cannabis joints,
around 15% in pipes, and around 5% eaten - either on its own or mixed in food
(e.g. space cakes) or drink (e.g. bhang, cannabis tea), with small numbers smoking
using other methods e.g. hot knives - where resin is pressed between red-hot knife
blades and the fumes inhaled through a bottomless bottle, or "buckets"
where smoke is drawn into a large bottle and inhaled when cooler.
as if that isn't enough, there's more.
is a more addictive drug than heroin, it really is very addictive. Breaking a
tobacco habit can be a very agonizing and difficult experience which many people
can never manage to do, even when they know the smoking is killing them.
cannabis and tobacco are psychologically addictive, which means you associate
using them with doing things you enjoy and this can be hard to break, but in addition
tobacco is strongly physically addictive. 'Physically addictive' means your brain
needs a constant feed of the drug just to function normally and so for you to
feel normal. There is much debate as to whether Cannabis is physically addictive
at all, it may be for long term very heavy tokers, but certainly for the vast
majority of consumers it isn't.
a tobacco addiction involves real "cold turkey" just like heroin withdrawal
(although it's different of course) plus the problems of breaking the psychological
people think tobacco isn't a drug because it doesn't make you stoned or anything
like that. Cannabis works on the bit of the brain you're aware of, so when you
get stoned you feel intoxicated. Tobacco works on a part of the brain that controls
emotions, it makes you feel good about having taken it, which is why smoking tobacco
is so enjoyable. It's a real mugs drug.
Why do people smoke cannabis with tobacco?
simple question which has, of course, a complicated answer. The cannabis tobacco
connection is historical; tobacco of course is nothing new to us; not so long
ago most people smoked and tobacco use was glamorized by Hollywood. Smoking was
considered an important part of socialising and it was normal to offer cigs around.
It was into this tobacco using culture that cannabis use took off. Added to this
we used to get mostly hash from Morocco or Lebanon and smoking pure hash requires
a pipe so the easiest way was to roll a tobacco joint, especially if you smoked
anyway and so already had the tobacco and papers.
days herbal cannabis is far more normal and less people smoke fags, but the joint
tradition seems to have stuck. All this wasn't helped by stoners who took joint
rolling to the level of an art, crafting a fine joint was something people took
a great pride in; "Camberwell Carrots", "cones", all sorts
of shapes and styles and it all became a part of the ritual of getting stoned.
Toke Pure is supported by CLEAR cannabis law reform
to this the honest fact that although very harmful a tobacco joint is a very,
very enjoyable thing to smoke. We might as well be honest because tobacco is a
great mixer drug - it goes well with almost all drug use. A tobacco joint not
only gets you stoned, but it also gives you one hell of a nicotine hit at the
same time and as the nicotine drug effect is to make you feel good about having
smoked it joints are very enjoyable.
of all this stoners came to associate the tobacco hit with the cannabis experience.
This is true for most of northern Europe, but isn't true for everywhere and in
many countries cannabis users would never consider mixing the two drugs.
users become tobacco addicts very quickly, although others take a lot longer but
most people get there eventually and many people who started off smoking to try
cannabis end up with a long term tobacco smoking habit.
filled joint smokers are experiencing the effect of the two drugs in combination
and taking two drugs together isn't the same as taking them separately at different
times. So people who are introduced to tobacco through smoking joints find that
just smoking tobacco on its own doesn't give the same experience, so they feel
they need a joint not realising that it is the tobacco addiction kicking in.
users of cannabis in tobacco joints start to smoke at regular intervals in order
to keep up their nicotine levels to satisfy the tobacco craving and end up smoking
a lot of cannabis as a result. For the minority of people who do suffer some negative
effects from using cannabis, this is clearly a bad thing, for others it may mean
they just get stoned all day.
cannabis with tobacco is likely to increase the amount of cannabis you use and
to make your cannabis use far more habitual than it would be if you toke pure.
why haven't things changed?
should have changed by now for sure, but they haven't. Over the past 20 or so
years, there's been a lot of health education and anti smoking measures aimed
at tobacco users and as a result far fewer people now smoke tobacco than previously.
Not only that but tobacco smoking isn't the socially accepted thing it once was,
you can't smoke in buildings anymore, at work or anywhere really. But none of
these restrictions on tobacco use has affected the way people - especially young
people - use cannabis.
and most importantly of course, this whole issue has been ignored by the government
and even by most drugs advice agencies. There hasn't been anything like a "toke
pure" campaign from Talk to Frank, if anything the government has been happy
to talk of cannabis use and tobacco use as the same thing. Its as if they want
to encourage this connection and for sure, the law doesn't help:
Cannabis is prohibited and tobacco has simply joined cannabis in the "underground"
culture as it gets ever more excluded from the mainstream.
Safer ways of smoking cannabis such as pipes, water pipes or the very safe (but
almost unknown in this country) Vaporiser can become incriminating
evidence for the authorities, whereas a joint is easy to hide.
New cannabis smokers are introduced by friends who roll tobacco joints which spreads
the tobacco addiction.
Myths have grown up, not least of all that it would be more expensive to smoke
cannabis without "diluting" it with tobacco. This is actually totally
untrue and cannabis users who smoke pure cannabis often use much less than joint
smokers, plus they don't have to buy the tobacco.
Harm Reduction: what cannabis users can do for themselves.
from anything its a waste of cannabis if you are smoking joints to simply satisfy
your tobacco addiction. The first thing to understand is that smoking with tobacco
isn't saving you money, it isn't diluting the cannabis and isn't making your stash
go further, in fact its costing you a lot more and making you use much more cannabis
than you need to.
or not cannabis smoking is bad for you, we know for sure that tobacco smoking
is. Tobacco joints don't have filters and so they are far worse than cigarettes.TokePure
is a campaign to kick out tobacco.
a note of how much money you're spending on tobacco and think what you could buy
with it, you'll be amazed at how much it is.
you don't believe you're addicted to the tobacco, just go without it for a few
days if you can, chances are you'll feel the addictive craving tobacco causes.
If you've not been smoking for very long it's not too hard to stop but If you've
been a tobacco head for a few years it's not going to be easy. Bite the bullet
and quit the evil weed though, you'll love yourself for it after, promise!
UKCIA site explains how to smoke cannabis without using tobacco (read
it here) and how to use cannabis without smoking anything (read
used without tobacco is a very different experience in some respects, but it is
the cannabis experience, it's the real thing.
do we want the government do?
is calling for the government to tell the truth and to enable people to use cannabis
as safely as possible:As
a minimum Tokepure calls for
Safer use campaign: The government should be advising the millions of cannabis
users how to use cannabis as safely as possible through a safer toking campaign,
this is an issue that affects millions of mostly young people after all. This
sort of thing is called "Harm reduction" and is deeply opposed by those
idiots who support the war on drugs, the reason for that is hard for normal people
to understand, but basically prohibition depends on drugs being made as dangerous
as possible. Yes, it is stupid but that's the UK drugs policy.
Pipesafe policy: The carrying of pipes and other safer ways of consuming cannabis
(what they call "paraphernalia") should no longer count as evidence
of illegal drug use and headshops should be encouraged to sell safer smoking equipment.
most obvious action the government should do is to legalise and properly regulate
and control the cannabis supply, then not only will the cannabis itself be of
better quality but users can be encouraged to use it in safer ways - in food or
drink for example where knowing the dose and purity of the supply is most important.
This is just one reason why cannabis law reform is needed and why UKCIA exists.
free coffeeshops? One of the big arguments in favour of "coffee shops"
- cannabis cafes - is that they separate the cannabis market from that of dangerous
drugs. Way back before the smoking ban some campaigners wanted to see cannabis
cafes which were tobacco free, where cannabis could be bought and used on the
premises without tobacco. Providing a tobacco free place where people could get
stoned would be the best way to break this tobacco connection.
Pot’s Addictive – Just Add Tobacco
Cannabis dependence risks and symptoms increase with cooccurring tobacco use (Daily Rx) - "These findings suggest the addition of tobacco to a marijuana "joint" causes the body to react significantly more to the combination of substances than it would to smoking it alone.
Although only a small percentage of people typically become dependent on marijuana, making a habit of combining its use with tobacco will increase will increase the likelihood of addiction".
note about herbal smoking mixtures: If you really want to roll joints there are
various alternatives to tobacco available, such as "Honey Dew". These
non-tobacco herbs burn reasonably well and don't have the nicotine addiction of
tobacco. But they are likely to have many of the other health risks caused by
breathing in large amounts of smoke and don't give the nicotine hit, but they
are a better option than tobacco.