Researchers are concerned about African American young adults with blunt smoking habits. In fact, the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine will receive $726,000 to fund the research on young African American blunt use. According to data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, 50 percent of blunt smokers are between the ages of 18 to 25. The University intends to use Twitter to reach African American youths in that age group.
The Blunt Truth
A blunt is an alternative to smoking weed with rolling papers. They first gained popularity with weed smokers because they provide a slower burn than rolling papers do. Smokers make blunts by emptying the tobacco filling out of cigars or cigarillos and using the remaining leaf or papers to roll weed.
According to the University of Cincinnati, Dr. LaTrice Montgomery, PhD, is an assistant professor and a licensed psychologist in the Addiction Sciences Division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience who will lead the study. She is using Twitter as a way to engage with young African Americans who are “reluctant to enter or remain engaged in traditional substance abuse treatment.”
“Given that social media is already fully integrated into the lives of many young adults, my research will focus on the development and evaluation of a private online Twitter group to support African-American young adults who are interested in reducing heavy blunt use,” Dr. Montgomery said. “It is important to develop innovative and cost-effective interventions for young adults.”
She says the reason the study is focused on young African American blunt use is “research consistently indicates higher rates of blunt use among African-American young adults.”
However, so far those studies have yet to focus on root causes, risks, prevention and treatment interventions. Dr. Montgomery plans to change this by examining the aggressive marketing tactics of cigar and cigarillo companies as well as perceptions of blunt use in popular cultural and artistic channels.
Reasons For Concern
The reason the study is trying to intervene with young African American blunt use is to prevent health problems that blunt smoking may cause down the line.
The issue isn’t that they’re smoking weed. The concern comes from the effects of combining weed and tobacco.
“Compared to traditional marijuana joints, blunts have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases due to high levels of carbon monoxide exposure,” Dr. Montgomery says.
Her study will address these concerns first by conducting individual interviews with young adults on social media to understand cultural norms and patterns of blunt use.
Final Hit: Young African American Blunt Use
The National Institute on Drug Abuse Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award for $726,000 will help fund the research over a five year period.
The ultimate goal of the study, according to the lead author is to provide an “accessible and effective way to reduce blunt smoking and thereby decrease morbidity and mortality rates associated with marijuana and tobacco co-use.” We’ve never heard of anyone dying from a blunt so it might be hard to reduce the mortality rates associated with young African American blunt use. However, we hope the research helps to reduce some of the diseases caused by combining weed and tobacco.
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