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 research finds.
Researchers discovered that between 2017 and 2019, the share of teenagers who reported any marijuana use in the previous month ticked upward barely — from 13.9% to fifteen.4%.
What actually modified, the research discovered, was how youngsters have been utilizing the drug. There was a pointy improve in vaping, whereas conventional marijuana smoking declined.
The share of youngsters who mentioned they vaped marijuana “ceaselessly” — at the least as soon as every week — greater than doubled, from 2.1% to five.4%. Occasional use (one to 6 instances a month) rose to the same diploma.
On the similar time, the proportion of youngsters who smoke marijuana declined. In essence, vaping appeared to be changing smoking, in accordance with lead researcher Katherine Keyes, a professor at Columbia College Mailman College of Public Well being in New York Metropolis.
She mentioned she might solely speculate in regards to the causes. However the rising reputation of vaping nicotine, together with legalization and altering social norms round marijuana, are possible elements, Keyes mentioned.
These factors have been echoed by Linda Richter, vp of prevention analysis and evaluation for the nonprofit Partnership to Finish Habit.
She mentioned previous analysis affords some “compelling explanations” for the traits seen in this research.
“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 children who vape nicotine will transition to vaping marijuana,” mentioned Richter, who was not concerned in the research.
Vaping, she added, has change into “normalized,” whereas on the similar time “pro-marijuana messages” have grown.
“Vaped merchandise are additionally sometimes 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 on the subject of marijuana, Keyes mentioned, vaping can really ship the next 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 preserve them coming again for extra.”
And whereas vaping doesn’t contain smoke, the liquids used in vaporizers do comprise doubtlessly poisonous chemical compounds, Richter identified. Vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC-containing vaping merchandise, has been linked to extreme — and generally deadly — lung accidents.
That lack of smoke can be an issue of kinds: Children can conceal marijuana vaping extra simply than smoking, Richter mentioned, as a result of there is not any telltale pot odor.
The brand new findings — printed Could 19 in the journal Habit — 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 least as soon as every week: from 2.9% to six.2% amongst boys, and from 1.3% to 4.7% amongst women.
By 2019, marijuana vaping was extra well-liked than conventional pot smoking amongst all racial and ethnic teams, aside from Black teenagers.
Keyes additionally pointed to a discovering from a earlier research of the identical group of teenagers: Highschool seniors reported an particularly sharp rise in marijuana vaping — with the prevalence practically 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 tougher to note, however youngsters are additionally seeing marijuana vaping merchandise marketed all over the place, together with on social media, they identified.
“It is not a matter of whether or not your little one might be uncovered to this, however when,” Keyes mentioned. “The very best factor dad and mom can do is to speak to their youngsters about marijuana use, and begin early — in center faculty.”
Richter agreed, encouraging dad and mom to take a “well being reasonably than a punitive strategy” to these conversations.
Partnership to Finish Habit has recommendation for folks on speaking about marijuana.
SOURCES: Katherine Keyes, PhD, professor, epidemiology, Columbia College Mailman College of Public Well being, New York Metropolis; Linda Richter, PhD, vp, prevention analysis and evaluation, Partnership to Finish Habit, New York Metropolis; Habit, Could 19, 2022, on-line