FRIDAY, Could 20, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — A rising variety of U.S. youngsters are vaping marijuana — a behavior that in some methods could also be extra dangerous than old school pot smoking, a brand new examine finds.
Researchers discovered that between 2017 and 2019, the share of teenagers who reported any marijuana use prior to now month ticked upward barely — from 13.9% to fifteen.4%.
What actually modified, the examine discovered, was how children have been utilizing the drug. There was a pointy improve in vaping, whereas conventional marijuana smoking declined.
The proportion of youngsters who mentioned they vaped marijuana “continuously” — at the very least as soon as per week — greater than doubled, from 2.1% to five.4%. Occasional use (one to 6 instances a month) rose to an identical diploma.
On the similar time, the proportion of youngsters who smoke marijuana declined. In essence, vaping gave the impression to be changing smoking, in accordance with lead researcher Katherine Keyes, a professor at Columbia College Mailman Faculty of Public Well being in New York Metropolis.
She mentioned she might solely speculate concerning the causes. However the rising recognition of vaping nicotine, together with legalization and altering social norms round marijuana, are probably elements, Keyes mentioned.
These factors have been echoed by Linda Richter, vice chairman of prevention analysis and evaluation for the nonprofit Partnership to Finish Dependancy.
She mentioned previous analysis affords some “compelling explanations” for the developments seen on this examine.
“First, the wave of nicotine vaping that unfold all through center and excessive faculties over the previous a number of years elevated the chance that youngsters who vape nicotine will transition to vaping marijuana,” mentioned Richter, who was not concerned within the examine.
Vaping, she added, has develop into “normalized,” whereas on the similar time “pro-marijuana messages” have grown.
“Vaped merchandise are additionally usually seen as safer and more healthy than smoked merchandise, as a result of when e-cigarettes have been initially launched to the market, they have been marketed as safer options to cigarette smoking,” Richter mentioned.
However vaping is way from benign. And relating to marijuana, Keyes mentioned, vaping can truly ship a better dose of THC than smoking does. THC is the energetic ingredient behind marijuana’s “excessive.”
That greater THC dose, Richter mentioned, can “hook younger folks to the substance and hold them coming again for extra.”
And whereas vaping doesn’t contain smoke, the liquids utilized in vaporizers do include probably poisonous chemical substances, Richter identified. Vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC-containing vaping merchandise, has been linked to extreme — and typically deadly — lung accidents.
That lack of smoke can be an issue of kinds: Youngsters can conceal marijuana vaping extra simply than smoking, Richter mentioned, as a result of there is no telltale pot odor.
The brand new findings — printed Could 19 within the journal Dependancy — are based mostly on greater than 51,000 U.S. teenagers who took half in annual well being survey between 2017 and 2019.
Throughout that point, marijuana vaping rose amongst girls and boys, with a big spike in these utilizing at the very least as soon as per week: from 2.9% to six.2% amongst boys, and from 1.3% to 4.7% amongst women.
By 2019, marijuana vaping was extra widespread than conventional pot smoking amongst all racial and ethnic teams, apart from Black teenagers.
Keyes additionally pointed to a discovering from a earlier examine of the identical group of teenagers: Highschool seniors reported an particularly sharp rise in marijuana vaping — with the prevalence almost tripling, from 5% to 14%.
The vaping craze presents dad and mom with some troublesome points, in accordance with Keyes and Richter. Not solely is marijuana use more durable to note, however children are additionally seeing marijuana vaping merchandise marketed in every single place, together with on social media, they identified.
“It is not a matter of whether or not your baby might be uncovered to this, however when,” Keyes mentioned. “One of the best factor dad and mom can do is to speak to their children about marijuana use, and begin early — in center faculty.”
Richter agreed, encouraging dad and mom to take a “well being slightly than a punitive strategy” to these conversations.
Partnership to Finish Dependancy has recommendation for folks on speaking about marijuana.
SOURCES: Katherine Keyes, PhD, professor, epidemiology, Columbia College Mailman Faculty of Public Well being, New York Metropolis; Linda Richter, PhD, vice chairman, prevention analysis and evaluation, Partnership to Finish Dependancy, New York Metropolis; Dependancy, Could 19, 2022, on-line