If you only smoke marijuana, there are higher chances that you may end up smoking cigarettes too, a new study suggests. According to researchers, cannabis use is associated with an increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-cigarette smokers. Previous studies have linked marijuana use in adolescence to bipolar symptoms in adulthood.
While cigarette smoking has long been on the decline, marijuana use is on the rise and, disproportionately, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes, the researcher said.
“Understanding the potential links between cannabis use and cigarette initiation in youth is needed given that recent data suggest that cannabis use is more common among adolescents than cigarette use,” said co-author Renee Goodwin from the Mailman School of Public Health.
The analyses for the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, were based on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005, and responses from 34,639 individuals.
The results suggested that marijuana use — even in the absence of cannabis use disorder — is associated with increased odds of smoking onset, relapse, and persistence. They also found adults who smoke cigarettes and use cannabis are less likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who do not use cannabis.
Former smokers who use cannabis are also more likely to relapse to cigarette smoking, the researcher said. “Developing a better understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and cigarette use transitions is critical and timely as cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease, and use of cannabis is on the rise in the US,” Goodwin said.
As cannabis use is much more common than cannabis use disorder, its potential impact on cigarette use in the general community may be greater than estimates based on studies of cannabis use disorder alone, the researchers said.