Initiation of Medical Cannabis Precedes Self-Reported Reductions in Tobacco Use

Vancouver, Canada: Patients authorized to use medical cannabis report reducing or ceasing their use of tobacco and nicotine, according to data published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

A team of investigators from Canada and the United States assessed self-reported rates of tobacco and nicotine prior to and following the initiation of cannabis in a cohort of 650 Canadian subjects authorized to use medical marijuana. 

Just under half of the study’s participants (49 percent) acknowledged reductions in use following medical cannabis therapy, with 25 percent reporting no use during the past 30 days. 

Subjects ages 55 and older, as well as those who expressed intentions to quit tobacco, were most likely to reduce their tobacco/nicotine use.

Authors concluded: “Results from this retrospective survey of medical cannabis users suggest that initiation of medical cannabis use was associated with self-reported reductions and/or cessation of T/N [tobacco/nicotine]. … In light of the significant morbidity, mortality, and health care costs related to T/N dependence, future research should further evaluate the potential of cannabis-based treatments to support efforts to reduce or cease T/N use.”

Clinical trial data from the United Kingdom previously reported that subjects administered CBD significantly reduced their intake of tobacco cigarettes while those administered a placebo did not. A pair of studies published earlier this year documented an association between cannabis use and a reduction in subjects’ consumption of alcohol. 

Full text of the study, “Self-reported reductions in tobacco and nicotine use following medical cannabis initiation: Results from a cross-sectional survey of authorized medical cannabis patients in Canada,” appears in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.