More people will be smoking weed than tobacco in the next few years

More people will be smoking weed than tobacco in the next few years

CultureAugust 22, 2016 By Eleanor Gray

For the first time in human history, marijuana is about to overtake tobacco as the plant Americans most like to incinerate straight into their waiting lungs.

With marijuana use skyrocketing to an all-time high this summer, people all across this great nation have been trading in cigarettes for joints as they come to the slow and necessary realization that weed is a much healthier thing to inhale than Camel Lights. In fact, since the advent of legalization in America, the number of adults who smoke weed jumped from 7 percent in 2013 to 13 percent earlier this June.

That’s such a large, pulsating spike that some experts predict weed use will overtake tobacco use entirely within the next few years. Considering that 33 million people admit to smoking weed and 40 million people regularly smoke cigarettes, that seems like a fairly distinct possibility.

Of course, this change in smoking spirit begs the question of why. Why are people suddenly starting to favor weed over cigarettes, even in places where it's not yet legal?

One possible answer is the correlation between cannabis laws and cigarette smoking rates. Weed-legal Washington and Colorado rank in the bottom ten in terms of statewide tobacco use, while Southeastern states with stricter anti-marijuana laws tend to have a much higher rate of tobacco-smoking. It could be that legalization makes the difference; when people have legal access to a safer substance than tobacco, they jump on it. The numbers seem to support this theory; only 11 percent of Americans had tried pot when Gallup first asked the question in the early 1970s, but now, with 21 states offering some sort of legalized weed, that number has risen to 43 percent.

Weed laws aren’t the only factor, though. Weed-smoking states tend to have generally healthier behaviors than non-weed states, and this includes the belief that tobacco is dangerous. And in the minds of many health-conscious people, cannabis and health go together. While it does have some risks, it’s also associated with many positive health outcomes, and, compared to tobacco, is much less likely to give you lung disease.

On a biochemical level, people may be preferring pot over Parliaments because the molecules in cannabis, especially CBD, can snuff out nicotine cravings. In a controlled trial, researchers in Britain gave an inhaler filled with either CBD or a placebo to cigarette smokers and found that, “Over the treatment week, placebo treated smokers showed no differences in number of cigarettes smoked,” but, “in contrast, those treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by [the equivalent of] 40% during treatment.” So effectively, weed could be gaining on tobacco because weed makes people hate tobacco.

Isn't that convenient! Scientists think this is because the body's endocannabinoid system is involved in addiction. CBD also relaxes and calms, which helps you get through the nervousness and irritability of quitting. That’s why cannabis is a substitute not only for nicotine, but for all kinds of drugs.

What's even more, is that cutting out your tobacco habit and picking up weed could save you money. Considering that a pack of cigarettes costs about $6 and the average smoker smokes around 19 cigarettes per day in Colorado, a tobacco person could spend upwards of $100 per week on cigarettes alone (that number is much higher in places like New York, where a pack of cigarettes runs around $13).  With an eighth of weed costing between $50-$70 in places like Colorado and lasting far longer than a pack of smokes for medium to light smokers (you typically only take a few puffs of pot instead of inhaling an entire joint), you could easily see how marijuana would be a more economical option.

Of course, if you’re still smoking cigarettes, and you’re planning on making the switch from tobacco to weed, you might wanna choose a low-THC, high-CBD strain like Harlequin if you don't want to hallucinate a dancing panda on your lunch break. But, if you're able to handle a higher-potency THC strain, it could very well help you quit your nicotine habit. Handy!

So congratulations, America, on taking 300 years to realize that cigarettes are awful little satan sticks, and consciously opting for a healthier choice instead. You're finally growing up!