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A Strange Blend: Why Are Europeans Mixing Cannabis and Tobacco?

This article was originally published on Leafly.

Cannabis doesn’t carry the sort of health hazards tobacco does, a majority of studies say. But that doesn’t change the European habit of mixing the two. It’s something North American cannabis consumers don’t often do: even cigarette smokers in Vancouver or L.A. tend smoke their flower pure, strictly separating nicotine and cannabinoids. So where does this difference come from?

To answer the question, let’s go back in time to the cannabis renaissance of the 1960s and ‘70s. Consumers in Europe at the time almost exclusively smoked hashish, often crumbling it into cigarettes, as hardly anyone was aware of the dangers of nicotine and smoking tobacco. The vast majority of cannabis consumers in the U.S., on the other hand, overwhelming had access only to dried flower, which could easily be used to roll pure joints.

These differences influenced the size of what was being rolled in North America and Europe. In the U.S. and Canada, pure “mini-joints” became the standard, while on the continent a king-size joint is preferred. A European-sized joint that contains only cannabis might contain 1.5 grams to 2 grams of flower — far too much for most. An American joint, on the other hand, contains about as much herb — about 0.2 grams to 0.5 grams — as a European mixed joint (often called a spliff in the U.S.), but without the nicotine. Scientists have even pinpointed the average amount of cannabis in an American joint at 0.32 grams. In Germany, the Netherlands, or Denmark, that amount of cannabis is typically mixed with another gram or so of tobacco, depending on personal preference.

Smoke Raw

Not only does consuming a cannabis–tobacco blend affect your health more than pure flower, it also complicates efforts to gauge the health effects of cannabis itself. The legalization debate often revolves around the dangers of “smoking,” because almost every European study on cannabis is not about smoking it pure but about cannabis mixed with tobacco. Even in medical programs, little attention is paid to whether patients smoke pure. That means that Europeans who use cannabis alone has to justify the consequences of a substance that has little to do with cannabis.

Even without tobacco, smoking is the unhealthiest form of any medical application. Yet other, healthier forms of consumption, such as vaporization or edibles, seem to catch on much more slowly in Europe. That’s in part because tobacco has long been engrained in European culture; as cannabis grew in popularity among Europeans, that affected how people chose to consume. In other cultures, where cannabis has been part of everyday life for millennia, people consume orally or at least smoke cannabis pure.

Mixing tobacco into a joint increases the addictive risks immensely. Many casual users have only begun to smoke cigarettes because they use tobacco for their joints. “Without cannabis I have no problems, but I then smoke more cigarettes” — you’ll never hear such a statement from a pure-cannabis consumer. Doctors in Germany or the Netherlands treating cannabis patients are often unaware of this phenomenon and fail to advise patients to quit tobacco— or at least to separate the consumption of both drugs so the positive effects of cannabis remain intact. The unfortunate reality is that in most instances in Europe, the pairing of cannabis and tobacco simply isn’t discussed.

Last but not least, pure cannabis acts quite differently than a cannabis–tobacco blend. Patients report that the combination of nicotine and cannabis can lead to pain relief and relaxation, but very often they note fatigue as a negative side effect.

Lung-Killer Nicotine

All these facts should be worrying enough for European cannabis fans to reflect on their consumption habits. To make things worse, there’s the political aspect. Prohibitionists use the dangers of the legal drug nicotine to protest against legalization of cannabis: “How can we have ever stricter laws to control tobacco and at the same time legalize cannabis?”

Professor Donald Tashkin has been a leading American pulmonologists for decades. In the past he was a vocal supporter of cannabis prohibition. Tashkin was convinced that smoking cannabis flowers created a high risk of developing lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). At one point, he was convinced that cannabis and lung cancer had a causal relationship worse than tobacco.

But more recent evaluations of long-term studies, however, made him change his mind in 2009: “Early on, when our research appeared as if there would be a negative impact on lung health, I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use, and that would lead to increased health effects,” he has said. “But at this point, I’d be in favor of legalization. I wouldn’t encourage anybody to smoke any substances, because of the potential for harm. But I don’t think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm.”

If the legislators take their task to protect public health seriously, European studies that evaluate the risk potential of pure cannabis consumed in various forms (smoking, vaporizing, edibles) have to be undertaken. These studies should take the international state of research into account, focusing on safer ways of consuming.

Michael Knodt is Leafly’s Germany correspondent.

A Strange Blend: Why Are Europeans Mixing Cannabis and Tobacco? This article was originally published on Leafly. Cannabis doesn’t carry the sort of health hazards tobacco does, a majority

A Guide On Mixing Different Cannabis Strains Together

A lot of experienced stoners have their favourite go-to strain combinations. Let’s go through why that is and give you a few combinations so you can try for yourself!

Whether you only have half a joint of each strain and need to mix or are just looking for a new experience, mixing strains can bring a whole new world to the experienced stoner. It’s available to take advantage of by both the recreational and medical users.

Different strains will produce different symptoms because of the entourage effect. This is the concept that explains how cannabinoids act together to provide the psychoactive and medical effects of cannabis. When mixed in different quantities, these chemical components will act differently. With more than 100 registered cannabinoids, the combinations are endless, explaining the existence of so many strains.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

When mixing strains, you’re not only taking advantage of the cannabinoid mixture in each of those strains, but also how the two flowers will work together. It will make a difference how much of each strain is in each joint and if you mix the two herbs together or split the flower halfway in the joint.

A lot of consumers will claim the high is better when they mix good strains. On the other hand, you might also want to tone down a certain strain by mixing it with a lighter herb. This might come in handy if you plan to smoke before an important dinner or event. You either mix or you simply try packing a smaller bowl or rolling a thinner joint. But we all know how much more satisfying a proper smoke is.

At the end of the day, cannabis is a very personal experience. Only you will be able to decide if you like a certain combination or not or even if you like mixing at all. Regardless of that, let’s go through some of the popular mixtures out there.

WHAT ARE THE BEST COMBINATIONS?

POWERFUL ONES

There are a lot of great cannabis combinations out there. So many that it was hard for us to pick just a few to show you. You might find your next favourite combination amongst these, but you’re as likely to not enjoy any of them. The best strain mix for you might not even have been discovered yet. Ultimately, it’s up to you to try out and experiment, but let’s give you a few to kick-start your journey on the world cannabis mixtures.

If you’re the kind of person who loves a good relaxing indica, you’ll want to try White Cheese and Blueberry. This combination will provide you with a couch-locking dreamy high. Recreationally, you’ll experience the relaxed and happy effects of both strains with a hint of creativity provided by the Cheese. Medically, your body will respond with a satisfaction in a lot of conditions. You’ll feel better if you’re dealing with stress, depression, insomnia, and even pain.

If on the other hand, you’re the type of consumer to enjoy terpenes, you have to try the Blueberry, Bubblegum and Trainwreck combo. Terpenes are the components in cannabis responsible for the present aromas and flavours. This is a combination to be enjoyed by cannabis aficionados. Although you’ll obviously be enjoying a wide array of effects, this mixture is extremely popular due to its effect on the mouth, not the brain. Smoking this combination will make you wish you had an endless bowl or joint to toke on all night.

LIGHTER HIGH

Like we referred above, there are many reasons why one would mix different cannabis strains together. If you’re not looking to increase your high, but to actually tone it slightly down, we also have combos for you.

Seen that we have an indica combination with an incredible head high, we thought of doing the same for the lovers of a good body high. For those guys we would suggest mixing the White Widow with some Purple Trainwreck. This combination will certainly give you an incredibly relaxed body high. You’ll be left with a happy and euphoric high that can still be mentally light and clear.

And finally, for the perfect wake and bake, try out Lemon Kush and White Cheese. Although being strong flowers, the high they provide is extremely functional. The Lemon Kush brings in focus while the White cheese enhances your creativity. You’re sure to feel the wonders of cannabis with this mix. Just be careful with how much you grind. Tread lightly with these plants.

WHAT TO KNOW IF YOU’RE MIXING STRAINS

Before you go full on bartender and start making crazy weed cocktails, there are a few guidelines we suggest you follow. First of all, you’ll probably want to stay at home for this experience. You’re most likely to feel things you’ve never felt before and these won’t necessarily agree with you. If you’re not at home, be sure you’re somewhere you feel safe.

And obviously, don’t smoke too much at once. Whether you’re vaping, smoking joints or packing bowls—smoke less than your usual dose. Allow yourself to test the high and effect before embarking on a crazy journey. Be prepared for an interesting flavour. It will be hard to master the best flavour combinations. At first, your smoke might not taste that good. Just know that that’s OK and you’ll improve next time. Experiment and take notes. It will take time to truly understand strain mixing, but once you get it, the experiences can be very rewarding.

How to: Grow Cannabis With an Aeroponic System

Ever wondered if mixing different strains got you any higher? We believe we have the answer you want to hear. Learn more about it and what strains to mix! ]]>