Some e-cig smokers are vaping active ingredient in marijuana

October 12, 2015

E-cigarettes increasingly are being used as a less detectable way to inhale cannabis, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

A study published recently in the journal Pediatrics said 16 percent of high school students, with percentages expected to rise, are using e-cigarettes to vaporize hash oil or wax infused with tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the constituent chemical in cannabis that causes psychological effects. Nearly one in four students now uses THC regularly.

An August study from Oberlin College in Ohio and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that adolescents learn the health risks of cigarettes from multiple sources, but "receive much less and often incorrect information regarding marijuana and e-cigarettes. That helps explain their positive and often ambivalent perceptions of marijuana and e-cigarettes.

"Rates of vaporizing cannabis using e-cigarettes were high," the Oberlin study states. "These findings raise concerns about the lack of e-cigarette regulations and the potential use of e-cigarettes for purposes other than vaping nicotine."

Yet another study published in August in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, says "recreational cannabis users can discreetly Ďvapeí deodorized cannabis extracts with minimal annoyance to the people around them and less chance of detection." But there are notable drawbacks.

Manufacturing commercial cannabis-infused liquids is a long, complex process, but such products are readily available on the Internet. However, they lack quality control, expiration dates and preservation methods without any toxicological or clinical assessment, it reports. A Google search produces a long list of websites explaining how to create e-liquids containing THC.

The University of Michiganís annual Monitoring the Future report issued Aug. 31 says that marijuana use among the nationís college students surpassed cigarette smoking for the first time in 2014.

One in every 17 college students is smoking marijuana daily or on a near-daily basis, with 21 percent of college students having smoked marijuana in the past 30 days, compared with 17 percent in 2006, it says. Thirty-four percent used marijuana sometime during 2014.

Only a third of all adolescents and young adults consider marijuana use to be dangerous, down from 55 percent in 2006, with 41 percent of all college students in 2013 having used an illicit drug in the previous year.

"Itís clear that for the past seven or eight years there has been an increase in marijuana use among the nationís college students," said Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the Michigan study. "And this largely parallels an increase we have been seeing among high school seniors."



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