Do teens vape marijuana?

WHAT WE KNOW: Teen vaping of cannabis nearly doubled from 2018 to 2019. A national survey asked teens if they had vaped marijuana in the last month and found:

  • 12th graders – 1 in 7
  • 10th graders – 1 in 8
  • 8th graders – 1 in 25 

The increase in use has been faster than almost any other substance tracked in the past 45 years. Only the rise in vaping nicotine from 2017 to 2018 was faster.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING: Flavored vapes appeal to children and teens. New laws restricting flavors may have an impact and reduce use.

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Health officials are investigating an outbreak of serious vaping-related lung disease. Over 2,600 people have been hospitalized and 60 have died; half of the cases or deaths reported were patients under 24 years of age. Vaping marijuana seems to be the cause, particularly from informal sources like friends, family or in-person or online dealers – the sources that teens are most likely to use.

Experts recommend no vaping or e-cigarette use while these illnesses are being investigated, particularly of marijuana products, and from informal sources. If you or someone you know has lung problems after vaping, seek medical attention.

Health authorities continue to warn that youth, young adults, and pregnant women should never use vape products.

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What is vaping?

WHAT WE KNOW: Many teens are using pocket-size vape devices or e-cigarettes. The small vape devices are nearly odorless and can avoid detection at home and at school. Vape devices heat quickly to dispense high-potency THC products, nicotine, flavored liquids, and other drugs.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING: Because their brains are still developing, young people who vape may experience more harm over time and with increased use. One vape manufacturer admits that long-term effects are unknown and has said, "Don't use this product."

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What’s in the vapor?

WHAT WE KNOW: The cloud is aerosol, not water vapor. Some of the chemicals that may be inhaled include: heavy metals such as lead, nickel and chromium; formaldehyde; and artificial flavors linked to serious diseases.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING:  Besides the known negative health effects of vaping cannabis, studies indicate that vaping by youth may lead to nicotine addiction.

“It is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health; the development of the teen brain; and the potential for addiction.”

Nora Volkow, MD, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse