25 Oct Cannabis Vaping Increasing Among Adolescents, Including Higher Potency THC Products
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Carmen Lim BSc(Hons), MSc, CStat
National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
The University of Queensland
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: This review has systematically summarized the trends and products used for cannabis vaping using 17 studies published globally between Jan 1, 2003 and August 19, 2020. The pooled prevalence has increased for lifetime use (6.1% in 2013 to 13.6% in 2020), past-year use (7.2% in 2017 to 13.2% in 2020) and past-month use (1.6% in 2013 to 8.4% in 2020). Adolescents’ preference for cannabis products may be shifting from less potent products (e.g., herbal cannabis) to highly potent vape oil and concentrates.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The prevalence of adolescent cannabis vaping is on an upward trajectory in the US and Canada. With cannabis being fully legal across 18 US states, D.C, and Canada, approximately 1 in 8 underaged adolescents now vaped cannabis using e-cigarettes in the last year. The discreet nature of e-cigarettes has allowed adolescents to conceal and experiment with other drugs such as cannabis. Although current regulation prohibits the sale of e-cigarette/cannabis products to minors (18 years in Canada and 21 years in the US), nevertheless adolescents could circumvent this by acquiring products online. The concern is, many cannabis products now also contain 3-4 times more THC from increasing movements towards legalization, the active ingredient that drives the “high”. Since cannabis vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, little is known about its potential long-term harms to adolescents’ health.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: With increasing changes in cannabis policy and legalization of adult use, the increasing trend indicates a need for more studies to understand the potential harms and health effects of cannabis vaping. This should inform the development of effective preventive strategies that target adolescent cannabis vaping, with a focus on the risks associated with the use of high potency products such as cannabis extracts and oils.
No Conflict of Interest.
Lim CCW, Sun T, Leung J, et al. Prevalence of Adolescent Cannabis Vaping: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of US and Canadian Studies. JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 25, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.4102
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Last Updated on October 25, 2021 by Marie Benz MD FAAD