CINCINNATI — Blunts, those hollowed-out cigar shells filled with marijuana popularized by classic music videos, have grown more and more prevalent since the 1990s, but almost no scientific studies have researched their use.
This week, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine announced it received a $726,000 federal grant for a first-of-its-kind study using Twitter to assess blunt use among young African-Americans.
“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,” said LaTrice Montgomery, the study’s lead researcher. “It is important to develop innovative and cost-effective interventions for young adults who might be reluctant to enter or remain engaged in traditional substance abuse treatments.”
Montgomery is an assistant professor and a licensed psychologist in the Addiction Sciences Division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at UC. She chose this target group because data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health shows approximately 50 percent of blunt smokers fall between the ages of 18 to 25.
Montgomery notes this will be the first study to develop and assess a treatment intervention specifically for blunt use. While existing studies may look at tobacco or marijuana use separately, there is little data available on the dual use of tobacco and marijuana via blunts.
“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,” Montgomery said.
Blunt use has also been associated with other illicit drug use, especially among young adults. Given the limited number of studies in this area, Montgomery’s plan is to examine the many facets of blunt use in the African-American community, such as the aggressive marketing