I have a confession to make: I helped start the blunt revolution.
I've never been a cigarette smoker. But when blunts came along in the '90s, I started using Phillies with my weed. That was because hip-bands like Cypress Hill were into it. Back in 1992 it was the hot new way to consume cannabis: split a cheap cigar, remove the tobacco guts and just use the outer paper to roll one up. The effect was a little dizzying for me, but I got over it. I was an official blunt smoker.
My confession is that I promoted it. In fact, I wrote a cover story about Cypress Hill in the March '92 issue of High Times when I was an editor there. We featured the band with B-Real and DJ Muggs holding blunts on the cover. The "How to Roll a Blunt" centerfold by B-Real taught a new generation of tokers how to do that.
Blunts come from Jamaica where some people roll weed into fresh leaf called fronta. It's a powerful combo. It also increases the effect since Jamaican ganja is often weak. Blunts caught on in Brooklyn where there's a large Jamaican community. Rappers were the first to get on board.
The good news is blunts created a bridge to the cannabis-reform community, which was generally white. Gradually, people of color started migrating to the movement. Now, we have a diverse community as the focus of legalization efforts have changed to represent all consumers.
The bad news is people continue to use blunts at an alarming rate. Apparently, they didnt get the message when Cypress Hill put down the blunt on their second album Black Sunday and extolled the virtues of hitting the bong instead. I stopped smoking blunts and went back to my bong and joints.
I've had some arguments about this with people in the cannabis community. They'd prefer I keep my opinions to myself. But the fact is tobacco kills and blunts contribute to 480,000 U.S. cancer and emphysema deaths a year.
Europeans like mixing tobacco with pot. Flower used to be hard to acquire on the continent while hash was plentiful. People began to mix the two; it was easier to smoke that way. They continue to do this, despite access to flower. Europeans wonder how Americans and Canadians can inhale cannabis without the aid of tobacco. When I was in Berlin a few years ago, I tried a few tobacco joints. One floored me, bringing on sweats and nausea.
It's time for cannabis consumers and advocates to stop using blunt wraps, wean themselves off the powerful effects of tobacco and nicotine and return to the purity of unadulerated pot.
Go ahead, call me a nicotine wimp. I'm proud to not succumb to the lure of tobacco like countless others. I'll live longer for it.
Wiz Khalifa once said, “Blunts suck. I hate blunts. It’s the tobacco. I smoke weed, not tobacco.” He's one of the smart ones.
High Times has since written, "If health is your main concern, consider switching from blunts to joints, or an even safer method of inhalation like vaporizing."
In 2016, researchers looked at consumption methods among Black smokers and concluded: "A small body of literature has revealed differences in blunt users compared with users who consume marijuana through alternative methods. Moolchan et al. (2005) found that blunt smoking was associated with increased carbon monoxide levels, thereby increasing risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases (Cheng et al., 2010) compared with non–blunt marijuana smoking among adolescents."
Harm reduction is popular in drug-policy circles. According the Drug Policy Alliance, it's a "public health philosophy and intervention that seeks to reduce the harms associated with drug use and ineffective drug policies." Blunts are not usually associated with harm reduction. They should.
It's time for cannabis consumers and advocates to stop using blunt wraps, wean themselves off the powerful effects of tobacco and nicotine and return to the purity of unadulerated pot. They'll be healthier in the long run.