Monday, September 07, 2015

Teens Now Use E-Cigarettes To Vaporize Cannabis

Research has found electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among middle school and high school students. A new study finds high school students are using e-cigarettes, battery powered devices originally developed to vaporize nicotine, to vaporize cannabis. 

The study, “High School Students’ Use of Electronic Cigarettes to Vaporize Cannabis” in the October 2015 Pediatrics (to be published online Sept. 30), examined rates of using e-cigarettes to vaporize cannabis among a sample of 3,847 high school students who were surveyed anonymously in Spring 2014 at five high schools in Connecticut. 

The authors found rates to be high, particularly among all lifetime e-cigarette users (18.0%); among all lifetime cannabis users (18.4%); and among lifetime users of both e-cigarettes and cannabis (26.5%). 

“This is a relatively novel way of using marijuana, and kids are using it at a fairly high rate,” said lead author Meghan E. Morean, now assistant professor of psychology at Oberlin College, who conducted the research while in the lab of senior author Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, professor of psychiatry at Yale.

Common means of vaporizing cannabis using e-cigarettes included hash oil and wax infused with Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

Study authors from Yale University said the findings raise concerns about the lack of e-cigarette regulations, especially since the forms of cannabis commonly vaporized often are highly concentrated yet less easily detected in the absence of the pungent odor of smoked cannabis.

“The smell of vaping marijuana isn’t as strong as smoking it, plus the similarity in appearance of hash oil and nicotine solutions make this a really inconspicuous way of using marijuana,” Morean said.

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