A study conducted by researchers at Yale University was recently published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Approximately 4,000 Connecticut high school students were polled to gain information on their use of e-cigarettes and cannabis.
Rates of vaping marijuana using e-cigarettes were high. These findings have raised concerns about the lack of e-cigarette regulations and the potential use of e-cigarettes for purposes other than vaping nicotine.
About 27% of the high schoolers surveyed who had used both marijuana and e-cigarettes reported using e-cigs for vaping weed.
Those most likely to be found vaping weed with e-cigarettes were males and younger students. Vaping weed using e-cigarettes was common among both lifetime e-cigarette users and lifetime cannabis users, as well as dual users. Methods included the use of hash oil and wax-infused with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and some even resorted to using electronic vaporisers to vape dried cannabis leaves.
To quote a co-author of the study, Dr. Meghan Rabbitt Morean, PhD., Department of Psychology, Oberlin College, “E-cigarettes are designed to vaporize solutions containing nicotine and teenagers are resourceful – it was only a matter of time. Vaping gives kids a better way to conceal e-cigarette pot use. Everybody knows that characteristic smell of marijuana, but this vapor is different. It’s possible that teenagers are using pot in a much less detectable way. We now know it’s happening, but there are more questions about who is using and how damaging it is.”
Co-author cautions public about interpretting marijuana vaping studies
She urged the public to be cautious when interpreting the study’s findings. There haven’t been any other studies showing teens are using e-cigs to vaporize marijuana, and she noted that scientists don’t fully understand the health effects of e-cig-vaporized cannabis. “This research is so new,” Morean noted.
What we do know for sure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is that marijuana use in forms other than e-cigarettes can cause several health problems including short-term memory loss, slow learning, decreased sperm count and lung damage. We also know that e-cigarette use among youth increased more than 200% from 2011 to 2013, according to a report in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
What conclusions should we draw from this study? First, teenagers show a lot of ingenuity! Second, this was an extremely small study. Third, and perhaps most important, common sense must prevail when using e-cigarettes. Until the use of cannabis is totally legal, you’re best advised to stick to your favourite e-juice purchased from a reputable e-juice distributor.