I no longer know if I smoke to support my nicotine or cannabis habit but I do know I wouldn’t consume so much hash if I didn’t also smoke tobacco. The two habits are so closely inter-related that my biggest resistance to quitting nicotine is the question of how then to consume cannabis? It’s a question that plagues many smokers, as well as the reason we try and fail to give up the smokes.
The link between cannabis and tobacco is so prevalent 33 per cent of teenagers who smoke use cannabis daily, as opposed to only 1 per cent who don’t smoke cigarettes. Another study shows that smokers are five times more likely to be daily cannabis users. Find something you love and let it kill you is a cool meme unless you’re talking about tobacco, which kills more than 7 million people a year.
The more I learn about cannabis, the more I want a connection to it that isn’t tainted by tobacco. I started smoking for the most pedestrian of reasons: peer pressure. I still remember how horrible that first cigarette tasted and how my friends laughed at me when I scrunched my face in disgust and coughed. Like any easily influenced teenager, I tried again till I got the hang of it. Then I discovered hash, and fell in love.
I’m not sure which came first, the addiction to nicotine or cannabis as both sort of evolved at the same time around the age of 17. Sure, I was a smoker of cigarettes first, but smoked very little until I found cannabis. My boyfriend back then was a regular user, and with him, I learned the simple pleasure of a weekend in front of the TV with a nodge of hash and too much junk food. With him, I also learned how to roll the perfect joint, a skill I grew to cherish.
When the relationship ended, I kept cannabis. Over the next two decades, as well as cigarettes or tobacco and lighters, my purse also contained a hash-box, rolling papers AKA skins, and roach material. I collected purses for storing my stash neatly inside my handbag, making sure it was easy to locate at all times. I collected hash-boxes, too, for the dual purpose of hiding and beautifying my secret habit.
I learned that my favourite time for a joint is while I write. It can take me an hour to smoke a joint, as I tend to light it and leave it in the ashtray until I pause to think, and have a puff. I’m so used to smoking like this, I rarely smoke a joint in one go no matter what I’m doing. Even when I smoke roll-ups (I haven’t smoked cigarettes in years), I take a few drags and put it out. I smoke a lot less when I’m smoking joints and never smoke tobacco on its own when I’m stoned, as the taste still disgusts me all these years later. Yet, I’m still smoking.
Did you know that tobacco companies call cigarettes nicotine delivery systems? All plants develop poisons to protect themselves, and nicotine is basically a plant pesticide that sets off a chemical reaction in the brain, spiking levels of dopamine, and as a result, feelings of contentment. Nicotine has been to shown to have health benefits like increased reaction times and heightened memory skills but mixed with about 600 other chemicals in tobacco, it’s not so wholesome. 7 million deaths every year!
When I stopped drinking alcohol in 2014, I used cannabis as a crutch to help cope with the lifestyle changes that came with sobriety. In 2016, I briefly joined AA, and they condemned my cannabis use, calling it a “gateway drug,” and labelling me an addict. I arrived at AA a healthy cannabis user, and left weeks later, after obliging them with 18 days of cannabis abstinence, once more, a tobacco smoker.
In AA, nicotine and caffeine are acceptable drugs but cannabis is frowned upon. This seems an anomaly to me as the one thing those anxious AA people need is a joint! That said smoking tobacco with weed has been shown to raise your heart rate, putting users at increased risk for heart attack. The bottom line is tobacco is a clumsy cannabis delivery system, and vaping seems like the way forward to me; it’s one of the consumption methods I plan to use when I quit smoking in January.
That’s right, I’m quitting tobacco again except this time I’m looking forward to the new consumption options about to open up to me, all of them healthier ways to consume cannabis. It’s said that nicotine is harder to quit than heroin so I’ll be using all the weapons at my disposal to beat it including vaping with CBD and cannabis, and edibles. I’m also going to work with a cannabis health coach to keep my nutrition and fitness on track, as well as share the challenges and successes with you. Wish me luck, my freaky friends, I’m gonna need it.
#quitnicotinewithcannabis #cannabisismedicine #healthyhighs