Vaporizing nicotine is no longer the only use for e-cigarettes, teenagers in the United States are finding. They work just as well with marijuana.
Researchers surveyed 3,847 Connecticut high school students and found nearly one in five e-cigarette users also have used the device to vaporize cannabis or byproducts like hash oil.
“This is a relatively novel way of using marijuana, and kids are using it at a fairly high rate,” says 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 University.
E-cigarette use among teenagers has been increasing nationally, and 27.9 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the current study that is published in the journal Pediatrics. Of those users, 18.7 percent say they have used e-cigarettes to vaporize marijuana.
E-cigarettes are powered by batteries that activate a heating element when inhaled, vaporizing a liquid nicotine solution contained in small tubes. Hash oil can be substituted for the nicotine solution in many traditional e-cigarettes, and some vendors sell e-cigarettes specifically designed for use with marijuana leaves or wax infused with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
“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 says.
The authors point out that the survey does not assess whether the availability of e-cigarettes leads to more marijuana use in youth. However, they note that vaping concentrated liquid forms marijuana can be much more potent than smoking dried marijuana leaves.
Source: Yale University