East coast Canadians have been adding tobacco to their weed for a long time.
Putting pinch in a draw may seem like a foreign language to some, but for east coast Canadians who smoke marijuana, it’s a part of the common tongue.
Canada has become the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana use. But, in most western regions of the country, many individuals were openly smoking pot already. One common practice among Canadians in the Maritimes, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, is adding tobacco, referred to as pinch, to their joints, bowls or bong tokes.
Kaitlyn Davis lives in St. John’s and has been adding tobacco to her marijuana for about two years.
“It’s just something I always did but it’s just like a habit now … it doesn’t seem right when I don’t do it I guess.”
Davis, who doesn’t smoke cigarettes anymore, says she still prefers to have pinch in her cannabis.
“I just find it better, honestly, I just find the joint better with tobacco than without.”
The amount of tobacco Davis adds to her marijuana only equates to about three to four cigarettes a week, but she knows people who use much more.
“I know some people who smoke about three cigarettes a day that don’t actually smoke.”
Dr. Leslie Phillips is a professor at Memorial University’s school of pharmacy. She also runs a smoking cessation program through the school of pharmacies medication therapy services clinic and says any tobacco use is detrimental to healthy living.
“Smoking one to four cigarettes a day is associated with pretty much the same harm as smoking a pack a day.”
Even smoking one tobacco laden joint per night could put someone at risk of becoming addicted, Philips says.
“It’s more addictive than heroin, it’s more addictive than cocaine. Definitely the most addictive substance in society today.”
Aside from sprinkling tobacco in a rolling paper filled with cannabis, some smokers also add it to their bongs and water pipes.
The only tobacco smoking method mirroring pipes or bongs is the use of a hookah, which Dr. Phillips says amounts to about 200 cigarettes per hour.
“There is no safe level of tobacco smoke,” said Phillips. “The only way to be safe is to not smoke it.