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The Difference Between Joint and Spliff

On your cannabis journey, you might choose to experiment with different consumption methods to find one that works best for you—smoking a flower, eating an edible, using a tincture, or applying a topical product are all common methods for administering medical marijuana.

Patients who choose to smoke have a variety of options, two of which are smoking spliffs and joints. But what’s the difference between a spliff and a joint?

In this guide, we’re breaking down the spliff vs. joint debate to help you find the consumption method that’s right for you.

What is a Joint and a Spliff?

Let’s start with a basic definition of both consumption methods:

  1. A joint is a cannabis that’s rolled using rolling papers. It contains only cannabis.
  2. A spliff, conversely, is a combination of cannabis and tobacco rolled together in a joint-like format.

Tobacco presence is the key difference between a joint and a spliff—joints contain only marijuana, while spliffs contain both tobacco and marijuana.

Spliffs and joints have slightly different cultural presences as well. We’ll explore these differences and the ramifications of tobacco inclusion in more detail below.

A Spliff Is Not a Medical Product

A pair of hands holding a pair of scissors over a tray of marijuanaOne key point to consider when understanding the difference between joints and spliffs is that a spliff, due to its tobacco content, is not considered a medical product. Why?

  1. Tobacco has been linked to a range of health risks, including various forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  2. While marijuana dependence is possible, tobacco has much stronger addiction potential. A recent study discovered that even “infrequent” tobacco smokers (including people who don’t smoke tobacco every day) meet diagnostic criteria for tobacco addiction.

While the cannabis component of a spliff may have therapeutic benefits, the potential harm from the tobacco content generally outweighs these benefits from a medical standpoint. Patients looking to reap the medicinal benefits of marijuana should do their best to use consumption methods that only require cannabis.

Effects, Experience, and Health Considerations

Let’s explore the difference between the smoking experience for spliffs and joints:

  • Smoking a joint offers an unaltered cannabis experience. Users report effects like feelings of calmness, reduced pain, and improved sleep, among other effects.
  • Spliffs introduce nicotine to the smoking experience, and nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant. Stimulants can increase alertness, counteracting (or combining with) the relaxing effects of cannabis during spliff smoking.

If you’re looking to use marijuana for its relaxation benefits, combining it with a stimulant likely won’t deliver the effects you’re looking for. In addition, introducing a substance that can cause medical harm (tobacco) into what’s supposed to be a therapeutic experience is largely counterproductive.

Harm Reduction and Quitting Tobacco with Spliffs

With all of the above in mind, there’s something to be said for harm reduction: efforts you can make to reduce your risk or protect your safety when using an addictive substance.

Spliffs can present two key harm reduction options for medical marijuana patients who are already addicted to nicotine:

  1. Reducing tobacco content – For people looking to reduce their overall tobacco intake without quitting smoking entirely, using spliffs is an excellent way to decrease the concentration of nicotine in their smokables. While medical marijuana will produce additional effects, smoking spliffs can help people scratch the itch to physically smoke while cutting back on their total tobacco content.
  2. Weaning off of tobacco on the road to quitting – For patients looking to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes entirely, spliffs offer a simple wean-off option. Over time, smokers can slowly decrease the amount of tobacco in their spliffs, easing themselves out of nicotine dependence until they’re smoking only marijuana.

While spliffs pose the same health risks as tobacco, they give tobacco smokers an opportunity to reduce their overall volume of tobacco consumption or help them wean off tobacco entirely.

Cultural and Social Aspects

If you plan to travel to Europe, you might encounter spliffs during your journey: Joints are commonly used in North America, while spliffs have a more substantial presence in Europe. 

This is because different communities and regions view the use of each product differently based on tradition, local attitudes, and legal regulations.

If you plan to smoke marijuana internationally, read local laws carefully and make every effort to find high-quality products to protect your health and prevent legal consequences.

Personal Choice and Responsible Use

While there are some applications where spliffs can be useful (if you’re trying to quit smoking tobacco, for instance), tobacco generally isn’t useful for people who are looking to reap the therapeutic benefits of marijuana. With that in mind, you should make the choice that best suits your desires and health considerations.

Remember, responsible use of cannabis, whether it’s a joint or a spliff, is crucial. Monitor your consumption, be aware of the effects, and consider your health when choosing your preferred method.

Spliffs vs. Joints: Must-Know Terminology on Your Cannabis Journey

Cropped view of woman rolling joint near marijuana buds in box and scissorsUnderstanding the difference between a spliff and a joint can help you stay informed and enjoy cannabis responsibly.

If you’re looking to reap the holistic, all-natural therapeutic rewards of medical marijuana, TeleLeaf is here to help. Whether you’re studying up on cannabis to become a more informed user or you’re preparing to apply for your medical marijuana card, we can help you find and navigate life-changing treatment via cannabis.

Reach out to learn more about our mission or apply for your medical marijuana card today.

Disclaimer: This blog is educational and does not promote illegal activities. Always follow your local laws regarding cannabis use.

Spliff vs. Joint: What Sets Them Apart?

A joint is a cannabis-only, non-tobacco cigarette rolled in rolling papers for a combustible inhalation experience. In contrast, a spliff combines both cannabis and tobacco.

While joints offer a pure cannabis experience, spliffs introduce the effects of nicotine, which can be more intense. It’s essential to note that spliffs, due to their tobacco content, aren’t regarded as medical products, and using them entails health risks associated with tobacco.


Scientific Reports. The Intersection between Spliff Usage, Tobacco Smoking, and Having the First Joint after Waking.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking & Tobacco Use.

Pennsylvania State University. Light Smokers May Not Escape Nicotine Addiction, Study Reveals.

Harvard University Medical School. Puffing Away Sadness.

US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Harm Reduction.

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