By Roland Sebestyén
Vape products are growing increasingly popular, with a growing number of teens now choosing them as the first option for cannabis consumption, according to a recent study.
The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, revealed that the number of teens vaping cannabis doubled between 2013 and 2020, based on the analysis of 17 US and Canadian studies with thousands of participants.
The analysis revealed that, across all school grades, the pooled prevalence of cannabis vape use increased for lifetime use (6.1% in 2013-2016 to 13.6% in 2019-2020), use in the past 12 months (7.2% in 2017-2018 to 13.2% in 2019-2020), and use in the past 30 days (1.6% in 2013-2016 to 8.4% in 2019-2020).
The researchers also claimed that teens are shifting away from dried flower products, in favour of cannabis oils – one possible explanation being that cannabis oils often contain higher levels of THC, the plant’s main psychoactive compound.
The trend, the authors said, is dangerous. They claim that vaping has health risks of its own which may be exacerbated in combination with cannabis consumption.
Study author Carmen Lim, a doctoral candidate in health and behavioural sciences at the University of Queensland in Australia, told NPR: “Regular use of high THC products could increase the risk of dependence, other substance use and many other health, social and behavioural problems later in life.”
She added the growing popularity of electronic “pot vaping devices is alarming.”
Ms Lim reiterated that, as cannabis is still not legal on the federal level, some products are still not regulated – this can mean the consumption of poor quality and even harmful products. This is one of the key arguments for the need of a federal, regulated, safe recreational cannabis market in the US.
Finally, the authors state: “Because cannabis vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, little is known about its potential long-term harms to adolescents.
“However, the regular use of cannabis is associated with a broad range of adverse health outcomes that may be more pronounced in those who initiate use in adolescence.”