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Substance Use

Using cannabis and tobacco together

​People may use cannabis and tobacco together in different ways, such as: 

  • using one right after the other
  • mixing cannabis and tobacco together to use at the same time
  • using both cannabis and tobacco, but at different times
Using cannabis and tobacco together can be harmful to your health.

How cannabis and tobacco are used together

The most common ways cannabis and tobacco are used together are:

  • Smoking, which is inhaling (breathing in) smoke from dried cannabis and tobacco. People smoke cigarettes, rolled paper joints, blunts, pipes, bowls, water pipes, bongs and hookahs, or tobacco cigarettes dipped in cannabis oil. 
  • Vaping, which is inhaling vapour from heating dried cannabis, cannabis extracts, tobacco, or nicotine (a chemical in tobacco).

Risks of using

Using cannabis and tobacco together has many health risks:

  • lung damage and serious breathing problems 
  • exposure to harmful chemicals (such as carbon monoxide and tar) from both substances
  • increased dependence (when you need to keep using even though it’s harmful) on both substances 
  • increased risk of cannabis use disorder and tobacco use disorder
  • trouble quitting smoking, because using cannabis and tobacco together can make withdrawal symptoms (uncomfortable symptoms when you stop using) worse 
  • harm to brain development if you’re younger than age 25 
Other risks may include:
  • making unsafe decisions, such as driving while impaired (drunk or high) 
  • taking dangerous risks, such as using alcohol and other drugs or having unsafe sex
  • mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and problems with thinking, learning, and memory
  • using more cannabis or tobacco compared to people who don’t use them together.

Risks to others

Second-hand smoke from cannabis and tobacco can harm people around you. It puts others at higher risk for: 

  • lung problems and cancer (from breathing in smoke or smoke staying on clothes, furniture, and walls)
  • feeling the effects of cannabis​ from breathing in second-hand smoke
Lower the health risks
All forms of cannabis and tobacco have health risks. The only way to have no risks is by choosing not to use. If you choose to use, here are tips to lower the health risk:
  • Don’t mix cannabis and tobacco together.
  • Don't mix cannabis and tobacco with alcohol or other drugs.
  • Don’t inhale deeply or hold your breath.
  • Choose other forms of cannabis, such as edibles. (These are less harmful to your lungs, but still have health risks.)
  • Don’t use cannabis or tobacco if you’re pregnant, might be pregnant, or trying to get pregnant. There is no safe amount or way of using while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Don’t smoke or vape in your home, near children, or near anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
Cannabis poisoning

Cannabis poisoning can happen when you use too much cannabis. The symptoms include:

  • very fast heart rate
  • feeling very sick to your stomach or throwing up
  • feeling very anxious, confused, or paranoid
  • panic attacks
  • seizures

If you’re worried that you or someone else has used too much cannabis and might have cannabis poisoning, call:

Information and support

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to quit or use less cannabis and tobacco.

If you’re worried about your cannabis use, tobacco use, or both, you can also get support and information from Alberta Health Services:

​Note: References to “tobacco” on this page do not include tobacco that is used for traditional and sacred reasons.

Current as of: August 31, 2023

Author: Tobacco, Vaping and Cannabis Program, Alberta Health Services