(HealthDay)— Teenagers have followed the vaping trend into marijuana use, with recent studies documenting a surge in marijuana vaping among adolescents in the United States and Canada, according to researchers.
According to the study, the percentage of teens who have experimented with vaped marijuana has more than doubled in recent years, and vaping among frequent marijuana users has quadrupled.
According to a new analysis of data from 17 different studies, one in every eight North American teenagers has vaped marijuana in the last year, and nearly one in every ten has done so in the last month.
“The prevalence of adolescent cannabis vaping is on the rise in the United States and Canada,” said lead researcher Carmen Lim, a Ph.D. candidate at Australia’s University of Queensland’s National Center for Youth Substance Use Research. “We also discovered that adolescent cannabis product preferences are shifting from less potent products like herbal cannabis to highly potent vape oil and concentrates.”
The proportion of teens who had tried marijuana vaping increased from around 6% in 2013-2016 to nearly 14% in 2019-2020. During the same time period, the proportion of children who had vaped marijuana in the previous year increased from 7% to 13%.
More frequent marijuana users jumped into vaping even faster, with the percentage of teens vaping marijuana in the previous month more than quadrupling—from less than 2% to more than 8%.
This new study did not look at overall marijuana use among teenagers, so it’s unclear whether more kids are using pot because of vaping or if kids who smoke pot have switched to vaping, according to Lim.
According to experts, it’s highly likely that kids are switching from joints to vape pens because the overall number of marijuana-using teens has increased more slowly.
“As vaping and cannabis become more acceptable in society and smoking becomes less preferred, it seems natural that young people would adopt this form of substance intake,” said Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York.
According to the researchers, these figures were derived from data compiled from nearly 200,000 adolescents who took part in marijuana-related studies between 2013 and 2020.