Combined use of marijuana and tobacco is becoming more common and is threatening to stifle progress that has been made in reducing tobacco use, says the lead author of a study that examined substance use trends in young adults.
The RAND Corporation study, published online in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, found that among 2,400 California young adults who were surveyed in 2017 and 2018, 37% used both marijuana and a tobacco product at some point in the past year. A total of 17% of the respondents used the two substances sequentially on the same occasion, and 14% said they had mixed the two in the same device.
The researchers also found that individuals who used both cannabis and nicotine at the same time tended to use higher quantities of the drugs and reported poorer functioning and more problematic behaviors such as fighting and having problems at work or school.
“Our findings suggest that we can no longer just think about the consequences of tobacco use or marijuana use alone—we have to think about them together,” lead author and RAND senior behavioral scientist Joan Tucker said in an April 29 news release.
The researchers pointed out that past surveys of marijuana and tobacco use have failed to account for the emergence of vaping products that allow the drugs to be used concurrently.