Vaping marijuana by teens has doubled in past seven years, with potentially harmful consequences, study finds – CBS Baltimore



(CNN) – Vaping of marijuana by school-aged youth has doubled between 2013 and 2020, according to a new study, with reported use in the past 30 days increasing sevenfold over the same period.

The study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, analyzed 17 studies conducted across Canada and the United States that involved nearly 200,000 adolescents. The study found that teens in their last year of high school were more likely to vape marijuana than younger teens. In 2018, for example, one in three Grade 12 students reported vaping weed.

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In one of the studies, teens also reported a preference for vaping cannabis extracts over dried herbs to get the buzz they wanted with THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, the one that produces the “high” that consumers desire.

The “high” today is much more intense than in the past, even just a decade ago, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA. Modern ultra-potent cannabis strains can contain over 15% THC, up from around 4% available in the 90s.

Choosing vaping oils, extracts and resins rather than the dried herb, called ‘dabbing’, is a worrying and potentially dangerous trend because vape extracts contain ‘3-5 times more THC than the plant itself. even, ”NIDA noted.

“There are several potential issues with using high THC cannabis products (which are) easily achievable by vaping,” study author Carmen Lim, health sciences doctoral student, said by email. and behavior at the University of Queensland in Australia.

“Not only is this linked to poorer cognitive development in adolescents, it could increase the risk of addiction, other substance use, and many other health, social and behavioral problems later in life,” he said. writes Lim.

Impact on the adolescent brain
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adolescent marijuana use in any form is of concern because the herb affects the brains of adolescents differently.

“Adolescent brains are actively developing and often will not be fully developed until the mid-1920s,” the CDC said, adding that use during this time “can have permanent effects” such as poor coordination and damage to learning, memory, problem-solving skills. , and the ability to pay attention.

Weed use by teens is linked to poor academic performance and an increased likelihood of dropping out, the CDC said. Additionally, the CDC warns that adolescent marijuana use has been “linked to a range of adolescent mental health issues such as depression or anxiety” and even psychosis.

Massive marijuana use by teens and young adults with mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, is linked to an increased risk of self-harm, suicide attempts, according to a study published in January. and death.

About one in six teenagers who use marijuana regularly become addicted, the CDC said. A person is considered to be addicted to weed when they experience cravings or lack of appetite, irritability, restlessness, and disturbed mood and sleep after quitting smoking. Called cannabis use disorder, the problem is on the rise, especially in those who started using it in their teens.

“People who start using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults,” NIDA said.

Vaping weed can be worse than vaping nicotine
A study published in March found that teens were about twice as likely to report “wheezing or hissing” in the chest after vaping marijuana than when they smoked cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

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“Without a doubt, cigarettes and electronic cigarettes are unhealthy and not good for the lungs. However, vaping marijuana seems even worse, ”study author Carol Boyd, professor emeritus and co-director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking & Health at the University of Michigan, told CNN in Ann Arbor in a previous interview.

“Since many teens who vape nicotine, as well as cannabis, I recommend that parents consider any vaping to be risky behavior (just like alcohol or drug use),” Boyd said.

Vaping the weed is associated with a dangerous and newly identified lung disease called EVALI, short for e-cigarette, or vaping, lung damage associated with the use of the product. In most cases, young people used vaping products containing THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.

“According to the CDC, 84% of EVALI cases were associated with products containing cannabis,” Boyd told CNN.

As of February 2020, 68 deaths from EVALI have been confirmed in 29 states and the District of Columbia. The CDC believes that EVALI may be related to vitamin E acetate, a sticky oily substance often added to vaping products to thicken or dilute the oil in cartridges.

What can parents do?
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, parents should be on the lookout for behaviors that indicate their child is using marijuana.

Red eyes and “craving” are obvious signs, but irritability, mood swings, forgetfulness and “silly or out of character” behavior are also typical, AACAP advised. Some teens may also begin to use words like “sparks”, “420”, “dab” and “shatter”.

Be on the lookout for vaping accessories. Not all electronic cigarettes come in cigarette-like packaging. Today’s versions can look like a USB device or a small capsule or rechargeable case and be difficult for a parent to spot.

“The unobtrusive nature of e-cigarettes allows teens to cover up and experiment with drugs such as cannabis,” LIm wrote.

If you think your child is using it, know that many teens think it is safer to use weed than to drink alcohol or other drugs. Prepare for the conversation by knowing “the myths and facts” about weed, AACAP said.

“For example, teens may say, ‘it’s harmless because it’s natural,’ ‘it’s not addicting,’ or ‘it doesn’t affect my thinking or my grades,'” he warned. ‘AACAP. Or they can say it’s OK because people are using it “for medical purposes”.

Facts about the reality of marijuana use and other advice for parents can be found on the website of the National Institute for Drug Abuse, the Partnership to End Addiction and Healthy, the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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