You are visiting us from Virginia. You are located in HHS Region 3. Your Center is Central East ATTC.

Addiction Science Made Easy: Blunts vs. Joints — Cannabis Use Characteristics Among Treatment-Seeking Adults

In brief: Blunt smokers may present to treatment with greater amounts of cannabis smokes and more intense withdrawal symptoms, compared to joint smokers, and may require different or more support to be successful.


Despite the increasing prevalence of problematic cannabis use among the general population and individuals entering treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs), demographic and/or clinical differences among individuals with cannabis use disorder (CUD) are still not well understood.


For example, although joints are the most commonly used method of administration for cannabis, other methods are becoming increasingly popular, like the use of blunts, water pipes, hookah, vaping, and dabbing, among current cannabis users.


It remains unclear if and how these methods might influence cannabis use characteristics (e.g., amount of cannabis used) and consequences of use (e.g., cannabis withdrawal) among individuals with CUD.


This study used baseline data from the NIDA Clinical Trials Network ACCENT study (Achieving Cannabis Cessation – Evaluating N-acetylcysteine Treatment) to predict the association between blunt and joint use frequency and cannabis use characteristics (grams of cannabis used) and consequences (withdrawal) among past-month cannabis users (N=377) who were screened for study participation.


After controlling for race, age, gender, other forms of cannabis use (including joint use) and nicotine dependence, analysis of the data found that the number of days of blunt use in the past month was a significant predictor of the average amount of cannabis per using day, the estimated average cost of cannabis, and Cannabis Withdrawal Scale scores.


Frequency of joint use, on the other hand, did not significantly predict any of the cannabis use characteristics or consequences.


Conclusions: Blunt smokers may present to treatment with greater amounts of cannabis smoked and more intense withdrawal symptoms, which may adversely impact their likelihood of successful abstinence. Cannabis-dependent blunt smokers may be more likely to benefit from treatment that targets physiological and mood-related withdrawal symptoms. Given the high prevalence of blunt use among cannabis-dependent treatment-seeking adults, additional research is needed to understand how blunts and other increasingly popular methods of administration (e.g., vaping and dabbing) compare to that of traditionally studied joints.


Citation: Montgomery L, et al. Blunts Versus Joints: Cannabis Use Characteristics and Consequences Among Treatment-Seeking Adults. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2019 (in press).


Find it in the CTN Dissemination Library!