Vaping has started presenting a new threat among teenagers, warn scientists. Instead of using e-cigarettes as they were intended – for vaping nicotine – it turns out that almost one in 5 high school students also use the devices for vaping cannabis oil.
According to a new study, this is the first time researchers have found proof of teenagers using e-cigarettes in this way. And the bigger concern here is the fact that hash oil and other forms of cannabis that can be vaporized are often much stronger in effect smoking the drug.
Leading author of the study, Prof. Meghan Morean of Oberlin College in Ohio, has expressed her worry that the more popular e-cigarettes become, the higher the risk that more teenagers will start using the devices to vaporize cannabis. The result is a more intense exposure to more potent concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive factor found in marijuana.
Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study involved roughly 4,000 teenagers in Connecticut who were interviewed about their smoking habits. It raised even more concern as it followed another recent study that suggests that teenagers who use e-cigarettes have double the odds to switch to smoking traditional cigarettes than those who haven’t tried vaping.
And the increasing fanbase for e-cigarettes is also a matter of concern. According to a report of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of middle- and high-school students who tried e-cigs in 2014 has reached a whopping 2 million, triple the number of teen users in the previous year.
During interviews, Prof. Morean’s team has discovered that 18 percent of all the students who tried e-cigarettes had vaporized cannabis, either in the form of hash oil or wax infused with THC. Research also showed study participants had increased chances of continuing their habit into adulthood.
In spite of the fact that socioeconomic status was not a factor in the study, the team found that younger male students were more prone to using e-cigarettes to vaporize cannabis than older female students. Different policies among schools also had an effect on the usage reports.
Even though he was not involved in the study, Dustin Lee, a postdoctoral fellow at the Geisel School of Medicine in Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, expressed his worry over how little we know of the long-term effects of potent THC and how it might affect ones behavior and neurobiology later in life.
Findings did cover only Connecticut schools, but researchers and commenters alike agree that the pattern is indeed worrisome, and might be applicable in other states with similar cannabis laws.
Image Source: E-cigarette Reviewed