In the JournalsPerspective

Marijuana vaping among US teens increases from 2018-2019

Marijuana vaping among adolescents in the United States increased from 2018 to 2019, including an absolute increase of more than 6.5% in 12th graders, according to survey results published in JAMA.

“Nicotine use is most common, but tetrahydrocannabinol — the principal psychoactive constituent of marijuana — can also be vaped,” Richard A. Miech, PhD, research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, and colleagues wrote. “Marijuana vaping produces significantly greater physiological and psychological effects compared with traditional smoking methods at the same tetrahydrocannabinol levels, raising concerns about potential health effects.”

Miech and colleagues analyzed past 30-day, past 12-month and lifetime use of marijuana e-cigarettes among 8th, 10th and 12th graders using the Monitoring the Future national survey. Survey responses included samples from schools within 368 randomly selected geographic units across the U.S. from 2017 to 2019. Overall, the researchers analyzed responses from 14,560 students in 2017, 14,857 students in 2018 and 28,346 students in 2019.

The researchers observed a past 30-day marijuana vaping rate of 14% among 12th graders in 2019 — a 6.5% absolute increase from 2018. They also found that 3.9% of 8th graders and 12.6% of 10th graders reported past 30-day marijuana e-cigarette use in 2019 — increases of 1.3% and 5.6% from 2018, respectively. Additionally, marijuana vaping prevalence increases were larger from 2018 to 2019 than 2017 to 2018 across all reporting intervals.

A similar study found that marijuana e-cigarette use among middle and high school students increased by 4 percentage points from 2017 to 2018, with the largest increase of marijuana e-cigarette use observed in students who used tobacco products.

“As the number of adolescents who vape marijuana increases, so too does the scope and effect of any associated health consequences, which may include lung injury when using black market formulations,” the authors of the new study wrote. “The rapid rise of marijuana vaping indicates the need for new prevention and intervention efforts aimed specifically at adolescents.” – by Eamon Dreisbach

Reference:

Dai H. JAMA. 2019;doi:10.1001/jama.2019.19571.

Miech RA, et al. JAMA. 2019;doi:10.1001/jama.2019.20185.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

Marijuana vaping among adolescents in the United States increased from 2018 to 2019, including an absolute increase of more than 6.5% in 12th graders, according to survey results published in JAMA.

“Nicotine use is most common, but tetrahydrocannabinol — the principal psychoactive constituent of marijuana — can also be vaped,” Richard A. Miech, PhD, research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, and colleagues wrote. “Marijuana vaping produces significantly greater physiological and psychological effects compared with traditional smoking methods at the same tetrahydrocannabinol levels, raising concerns about potential health effects.”

Miech and colleagues analyzed past 30-day, past 12-month and lifetime use of marijuana e-cigarettes among 8th, 10th and 12th graders using the Monitoring the Future national survey. Survey responses included samples from schools within 368 randomly selected geographic units across the U.S. from 2017 to 2019. Overall, the researchers analyzed responses from 14,560 students in 2017, 14,857 students in 2018 and 28,346 students in 2019.

The researchers observed a past 30-day marijuana vaping rate of 14% among 12th graders in 2019 — a 6.5% absolute increase from 2018. They also found that 3.9% of 8th graders and 12.6% of 10th graders reported past 30-day marijuana e-cigarette use in 2019 — increases of 1.3% and 5.6% from 2018, respectively. Additionally, marijuana vaping prevalence increases were larger from 2018 to 2019 than 2017 to 2018 across all reporting intervals.

A similar study found that marijuana e-cigarette use among middle and high school students increased by 4 percentage points from 2017 to 2018, with the largest increase of marijuana e-cigarette use observed in students who used tobacco products.

“As the number of adolescents who vape marijuana increases, so too does the scope and effect of any associated health consequences, which may include lung injury when using black market formulations,” the authors of the new study wrote. “The rapid rise of marijuana vaping indicates the need for new prevention and intervention efforts aimed specifically at adolescents.” – by Eamon Dreisbach

Reference:

Dai H. JAMA. 2019;doi:10.1001/jama.2019.19571.

Miech RA, et al. JAMA. 2019;doi:10.1001/jama.2019.20185.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective
    Ilona Jaspers

    Ilona Jaspers

    Marijuana use has significantly increased in high schoolers over the past 2 to 3 years across different demographics. A use pattern of dual use with other tobacco products is emerging among youth using marijuana.

    Because we still do not understand what the long-term health implications are of using marijuana, especially in the developing brain, this significant increase in self-reported marijuana use is of concern. The high prevalence of e-cigarette use and marijuana use is of particular concern because we do not yet understand what the potential synergistic or additive effects of dual use, especially in youths, are.

    We need to conduct more systematic and mechanistic research on all tetrahydrocannabinol products. Because marijuana is a schedule I substance — even in states that have legalized marijuana use — federally funded labs, which include all academic institutions, are prohibited from conducting unbiased research on these products. In other words, we have no idea what kind of biological and health effects these products may cause, and we currently cannot conduct the type of research that would uncover these effects.

    This study highlights the critical need to conduct mechanistic laboratory-based research on tetrahydrocannabinol products.

    • Ilona Jaspers, PhD
    • Professor of pediatrics, microbiology and immunology
      Deputy director, Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology
      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Disclosures: Jaspers reports no relevant financial disclosures.