Study: Teens turning to e-cigarettes to smoke pot

File Image (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A recent study shows high school students are turning to electronic cigarettes and vaporizers to get high on marijuana.

A study published in Pediatrics shows students admitted to using e-cigarettes to vaporize hash oil or wax infused with THC, or using portable electronic vaporizers for dried cannabis leaves. Instead of smoke, there’s vapor that quickly dissipates.

“Especially with the pens, it’s easy to hide that stuff. It’s in a little box, it’s in a little container so you wouldn’t be able to smell it or anything like that,” said one 16-year-old boy. The teen wants to remain anonymous and insists he does not use marijuana or smokes e-cigarettes. “They do it at parties, or at a house, but never really in public,” he said.

Alfred Aleguas, director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa, insists parents should look for signs including changes in behavior and glassy eyes. He also urges parents to talk with teens about the unknown consequences of marijuana to their developing young minds.

“Nobody really knows what the effects are. That’s a big question,” he explained. “And then there’s the health effects of e-cigarettes. We really don’t know what the long-term health effects in those are.”

But the 11th grade teen believes attitudes are changing among his age group, in part, because of medical marijuana and states that legalized pot for recreational use.

“I’ve never seen a negative effect from weed,” he revealed.

The stigma, long associated with pot use, is going up in vapor.

In the future, researchers want to find out if pot use among high school students differs in states where marijuana is legal.

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