"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," says Meghan Morean. (Credit: pixelblume/Flickr)

addiction

Teens use e-cigarettes to vape marijuana

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.

[Does vaping prep teens for lifelong addiction?]

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.

[smokers get cravings when they see e-cigs]

“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

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