The Short of It
A new study found that teens—more than adults—are using e-cigarette devices to "vape" or inhale pot and other cannabis products. Researchers asked nearly 4,000 Connecticut high school students about their recreational drug use and e-cigarette use, and discovered that the rate of teens vaping pot was almost 30 times higher than it was for adults.
The study, published in Pediatrics, is full of eye-opening findings. For starters, the researchers found that e-cigarette use among high schoolers tripled between 2013 and 2014, to more than 13 percent. But beyond that, the confidental survey revealed that 18 percent of respondents admitted to having used an e-cigarette to get high, and among kids who were self-described "dual users" of marijuana and e-cigarettes, a full 25 percent were using the battery-powered devices to get high. They're not just using traditional dried pot leaves, either, but hashish oil and wax "dabs."
One possible reason, according to the study authors, is that "vaping" pot simply doesn’t emit the tell-tale pungent smell—meaning it's easier to conceal the use of cannabis.
Meghan Morean, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of psychology at Oberlin College in Ohio and adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, said that vaporized hash oil or wax can have THC concentrations four to 30 times as high as dried cannabis—and medical studies haven't proven that vaping the drug is safer than smoking it. While there are proposed rules to control the sale of e-cigarettes, no regulations stand in the U.S at present time.
Morean said she hoped the study would be a jumping off point for researchers interested in the topic. “It’s to get the idea out there that this is something adolescents are doing and people should be aware that it's another means of using cannabis,” she said. And, hopefully this study will encourage conversations at home.
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