Are vaporizers putting your teenager at risk for marijuana abuse?
According to a recent study published in the May 2015 edition of Pediatrics, the increased use of electronic vaporizers by American teenagers is allowing them to better disguise their use of marijuana. Because the vapor emitted by the devices is so different, there is no marijuana smell to alert parents.
Vaporizer Statistics Tell the Tale
Between 2011 and 2015, the regular use of electronic cigarettes by US teens increased more than TENFOLD.
At every grade level, students are more likely to use e-cigarettes, instead of real ones. And the younger the person is, the more likely they are to use a device.
- 8th grade: 5% of students use e-cigarettes versus 3.6% regular ones.
- 10th grade: 14% versus 3%
- 12th grade: 2% versus 11.4%
- 28% of all students surveyed have tried e-cigarettes.
- Boys are twice as likely to use e-cigarettes as girls.
- Among teenagers who both use marijuana and vaporizers, 27% have used their device to inhale marijuana.
Furthermore, teenagers who use e-cigarettes are 4 times as likely to start smoking regular ones within 6 months as teens who don’t use the devices.
“It’s so much easier to conceal e-cigarette pot use. Everybody knows that characteristic smell of marijuana, but this vapor is different. It’s possible that teenagers are using pot in a much less detectable way.”
~Professor Meghan Rabbitt Morean, Oberlin College
Vaporizer Use Increases the Risk
29% of “dual users” – students who use electronic devices to vape marijuana – smoke dried leaves. But 23% of dual users used hash oil, and 15% vaporize THC-infused wax. This practice is known as “dabbing”.
Dried cannabis leaves vary in potency, from as low as 5% THC up to about 28%. However, hash oils and wax can contain up 30 times as much THC. Marijuana wax reaches 99.7% pure THC.
And these amped-up concentrations are particularly hazardous to the still-developing teenage brain.
What Are Some of the Dangers of Using Vaporizers to Inhale Marijuana?
Chronic marijuana abuse, especially at higher concentrations, can put the user at greater risk for:
- Depression—4X greater risk
- Anxiety—3X greater risk
- Schizophrenia—50% greater risk
- Psychosis—Doubled risk
- Memory Problems—18% worsened test scores
- Lowered IQ— -8 points
- Aggression/Violence—Sevenfold increase
These effects are long-lasting, and in some instances, may even become permanent.
In addition, teens who use marijuana are up to 7 times more likely to develop a medically-diagnosable addictive disorder.
What to Do If Your Teen is Vaporizing Marijuana
If your teenager is using marijuana in any form, it can be harmful to their physical and mental health. The best thing you can do to protect your child is get them qualified professional help.
For over 35 years, Teensavers Treatments Centers has been the most-trusted provider of addiction recovery services in California. By offering teen-focused treatment, Teensavers transforms the lives of teens and families in crisis.
For a confidential assessment, contact Teensavers today.
by Albert Fontenot