Marijuana Use Terms Are Vast and Ever-Changing
When it comes to common terms for marijuana and marijuana use, there is no dearth of slang and word choices today. Some terms are more prevalent in spoken word in some parts of the U.S. or other countries; and, terms that may be popular today may fall from favor tomorrow—just as some terms that once were common no longer are.
Take the term spliff. What does it mean, and where did it originate? How has it changed over time? For anyone who has overheard the term or wants more details about a spliff or the definition, here is some information that may be helpful.
History of the Term Spliff
Historians of cannabis often point to the West Indian origins of the term spliff, specifically mentioning Jamaica as the originating country. What native Jamaicans refer to as a spliff, though, is a product that only contains marijuana. There’s no tobacco in it. Their slang term, in typical Jamaican English, means an especially potent or large joint.
According to cannabis culture media, spliffs are more popular in countries outside of the United States. This is especially true in some European countries where cannabis users enjoy tobacco along with the THC-laden ingredient.
What is a Spliff?
A spliff is a convenient way to smoke a combination of two habit-forming substances: marijuana and tobacco. While the term spliff may be familiar to some, it’s foreign to others.
What it Contains
Tobacco is the addition to the cigarette-like product that gives a buzz of energy to users in a spliff, which also contains a heady dose of marijuana. Users like to roll their product because they can customize it to their preferences, controlling the mixture and ratio of tobacco and marijuana. There are also several paper choices to select from, ranging from plain unflavored papers to distinctly fruity-flavored papers like watermelon, banana, honey, and green apple.
Spliff vs. Joint
Cannabis culture is rife with lore about joints. Briefly, a joint is a marijuana product rolled in white cigarette paper. A spliff, on the other hand, is a combination of marijuana and tobacco that is mixed and rolled together. The amount of cannabis in a joint, though, is typically higher than what’s found in a spliff. According to some anecdotal accounts, there’s up to a gram of marijuana in a joint, whereas a spliff may contain only half that amount of cannabis.
Spliff vs. Blunt
How does a “blunt” differ from a joint and how does it compare to a spliff? A blunt, instead of being rolled in white cigarette paper, is rolled in brown paper like a cigar. It also contains a mixture of marijuana and tobacco, just like the spliff, although in a spliff, the concentration of the two substances is higher.
As for the meaning of spliff, many consider it a hybrid between joints and blunts. Simply put, spliffs are cigarettes containing cannabis with a tobacco punch.
Health Concerns With a Spliff
What specific health concerns are there with a spliff? For one thing, spliffs contain tobacco. This substance is a well-known carcinogen. Cancer from smoking tobacco is a risk that should be taken seriously.
A small study published in the European Respiratory Journal found increased lung cancer risk among young adults using cannabis long-term. While researchers cautioned the results are conflicting and limited, they also noted that there may be a greater potential for lung cancer from smoking cannabis than tobacco. Why? In cannabis cigarettes, there’s up to two times the concentration of polyaromatic hydrocarbons. These are carcinogenic. And in spliffs, the tobacco is packed less densely than cigarettes. Spliffs are often smoked without filters.
Cannabis smokers typically inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers. The result is a greater accumulation of carcinogenic ingredients in the respiratory tract. The long-term lung cancer risk of smoking one cannabis joint a day is equal to smoking about 20 tobacco cigarettes a day.
Another study noted that cannabis is a complex plant that has 400-plus chemical entities. Sixty of these chemical entities are cannabinoid compounds. Some of those compounds are known to have effects that oppose each other. Cannabis potency has been increasing worldwide and several studies found some evidence of links between dose-related use of cannabis and an increased risk of developing a psychotic illness.
Cannabis also affects users differently. Not everyone experiences adverse effects from using the substance, although those who are chronic cannabis users and consume higher potency cannabis are likelier to be more vulnerable to negative long-term health consequences.
On the other hand, marijuana consumed for medical purposes brings much-needed relief to individuals experiencing several different medical and mental health conditions. These include marijuana taken for anxiety, depression, opioid use disorder, chronic pain, and other conditions. For example, someone with chronic pain or pain who doesn’t respond to other forms of medication may turn to marijuana to alleviate the agony. Similarly, many individuals with a terminal illness or who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy may be prescribed medical marijuana to help ease problematic nausea that so often accompanies cancer treatment.
Are Spliffs More Addictive Than Marijuana?
If smoking a spliff can make a profound difference and improve the quality of life for these individuals who are coping with terminal or chronic pain that doesn’t respond to other treatments or medications, who’s to say that’s not in their best interests? And if diagnosable anxiety or PTSD is the reason that someone turns to using a marijuana-containing spliff, and smoking the spliff helps ease their discomfort, that seems like a reasonable means of coping.
Still, there is the possibility that non-stop spliff use could lead to dependence and addiction. A spliff is still marijuana, even though it also contains tobacco. And marijuana can become habit-forming and difficult to stop using, no matter what the initial reason for beginning use. An estimated 4.8 million people in the U.S. had marijuana use disorder in 2019, according to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Also in 2019, of the 58.1 million current users of tobacco, 45.9 million were current cigarette smokers.
Still, there’s less likelihood that a spliff will create the kind of euphoria or high that a joint can produce. In that respect, smoking spliffs is less likely to result in addiction than a strict consumption of marijuana. Another point to consider is the potency of the cannabis selected to combine in the spliff, joint, or blunt. Highly potent cannabis, or marijuana with extremely potent levels of THC, consumed excessively or with increasing frequency, can lead to dependence and addiction—whether it’s in a joint, a blunt, or a spliff.
Also, the tobacco contained in a spliff is a stimulant. The mellowing aspect of the cannabis ingredient is countered, to a certain extent, by the tobacco stimulant. Someone may think they’re not becoming dependent on the substances when they smoke spliffs. That may not always be the case.
What Is a Blunt?
“Blunt” refers to a cigar that has been hollowed out and filled with dried cannabis flower so it can be smoked. Most people think the term “blunt” comes from the Phillies Blunt cigar brand. When it comes to joints vs blunts, blunts use the cigar whereas joints use rolling paper to hold the cannabis in place.
Health Concerns With a Blunt
The amount of cannabis in a blunt is cause for concern. Healthline estimates that the average cigar used for blunt weed is six times larger than the average joint. You’re also exposed to the cancer-causing chemicals in cigar wrappers or, in the case of joint rolling papers, chemicals that you’ll inhale when they burn. Cigar smoke contains more toxins than smoke from a joint, which is bad news for your lungs. The American Lung Association says that tobacco smoke and cannabis smoke share many of the same poisonous materials, harming the airways and lungs with each inhalation.
What Is a Roach?
A “roach” is the very end of a blunt, spliff or joint after it’s been smoked. Some people put their roaches into a bong or bowl so they can smoke the last bit of cannabis inside the burnt paper.
Health Concerns With Roaches
In addition to the toxins you may inhale from smoking marijuana, you’ll also expose yourself to bacteria by smoking roach weed. You could even introduce a serious infection into your lungs. Some research suggests that lighting cannabis a second time after it’s been exposed to flame can increase inhaled carcinogen levels, especially if you use a butane lighter.
What Is a Zoot?
You may also hear the term “zoot” to describe a joint, blunt or spliff filled with cannabis or a cannabis-tobacco mixture. It’s a common slang used in the United Kingdom. However, it tends to be a catch-all that can mean any type of smoked marijuana cigarette or cigar.
What Is a Jawn?
“Jawn” is another common slang term in the cannabis lexicon. According to Urban Dictionary, the term comes from Philadelphia and typically refers to a blunt. However, as the born and raised in Philly may know, jawn can mean anything from a random person to a location to an object, so it’s not always used to discuss marijuana.
What Are Edibles?
Edibles provide a way to ingest cannabis without smoking. You can consume THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, in various forms that can include oils, capsules, candies and desserts.
Health Concerns With Edibles
It’s easy to take too much THC when you use edibles, since it’s difficult to determine the exact dose. It takes 30 minutes to two hours for the effects to take hold, so people often take too much when they don’t get the desired effect right away. The high lasts much longer with edibles than it does with smoked or vaped cannabis.
The body processes cannabis differently when you eat it than when you smoke it, which can result in unexpected effects. The food you’ve eaten recently, your physical composition, your THC tolerance and other factors also affect your experience with edibles.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking too much THC in edible form can result in poisoning. Kids and pets have an especially high risk of illness and hospitalization from accidentally ingesting cannabis.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil contains a cannabidiol, or chemical derived from cannabis. It’s often used to relieve pain and anxiety, but doesn’t cause the high that comes from THC. Different forms of CBD can be added to beverages, applied to the skin or taken as capsules. You can even use CBD as a spray that goes under the tongue.
Health Concerns With CBD Oil
CBD oil isn’t regulated, so you can’t be sure about the purity of the product unless you purchase from a reputable source. CBD can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners. The Mayo Clinic reports side effects that include fatigue, drowsiness, reduced appetite, diarrhea and dry mouth. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin taking CBD.
What Is Dabbing?
Dabbing refers to the practice of inhaling concentrated THC through a bong outfitted for this purpose. You may hear this apparatus called a dab rig. The person places the cannabis concentrate on a quartz or metal device called an e-nail, which is heated with a specialized torch. While it’s similar to vaporizing concentrated cannabis in cartridge form, dabbing delivers a much higher dose of THC in the vapor. It’s also difficult to control intake.
Health Concerns With Dabbing
A study published in the medical journal Cureus in 2017 associated dabbing with brain and heart-related toxicity, as well as potential psychosis. Dabs can come from unreliable sources, which introduces unwanted substances into the breathing pathway and bloodstream. They often contain solvents and other contaminants. Side effects may include rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure.
What Is Vaping?
Like dabbing, vaping involves inhaling vaporized cannabis. Proponents of the practice say it provides a pure experience with less lung damage than smoking. Vaping can be done with a wide variety of devices and substances, including cannabis, flower, oil and wax-like forms.
Health Concerns With Vaping
As reported by Healthline, vaping can potentially cause lung damage because of exposure to vitamin E acetate, a common chemical additive in THC vape oils. The CDC even associates vaping nicotine and THC with e-cigarette product-associated lung injury, a life-threatening disease. Vaporizing cannabis also increases the risk of taking too much of the substance and experiencing unwanted effects like paranoia, racing heartbeat and sweating.
When you share products with others, such as joints, blunts, spliffs and portable vaporizers, you also increase the risk of spreading illness. If you do use cannabis through these methods, avoid sharing to reduce the chances of contracting a viral or bacterial illness.
Seeking Help for Spliff Use
Be it a ‘spliff’, ‘blunts’ ‘roach’, or any other term for marijuana, if use is causing problems, or if there’s a concern about increasing use, contact us to learn how we may be able to help. Our caring professionals are always available to provide confidential answers to frequent questions, to serve as a resource for additional assistance, and to let you know you’re not alone. There’s no obligation and no pressure. Call today to begin the journey to a healthier, happier tomorrow.