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Cannabis vaping linked to increased use of other substances, study finds

In a recent short communication published within the journal Addictive Behaviors Reports, researchers explored associations between cannabis vaping and using other substances. They examined if the association differed between cannabis vape users and cannabis users who didn’t vape.



Short Communication: The association between cannabis vaping and other substance use. Image Credit: Daisy Daisy / Shutterstock

Background

Although smoking continues to be probably the most prevalent type of cannabis use, with the rise in popularity of vapes, using cannabis vapes has increased significantly, especially amongst adolescents. Statistics indicate that the incidence of cannabis vaping has almost doubled amongst adolescents between 2017 and 2020. Surveys from 2022 show that close to fifteen% of the scholars in twelfth grade report using cannabis vapes up to now month, and the proportion of adults who use cannabis vapes has also increased up to now few years.

Vaping is the technique of heating a liquid mixture containing a substance, similar to nicotine or cannabis, to the purpose that it turns into an aerosolized vapor that may then be inhaled. In comparison with smoking tobacco cigarettes or cannabis substances, vaping is perceived to be safer resulting from the absence of combustion-associated toxins.

Moreover, the doubtless greater pharmacodynamic effects and skill to vape discretely in public add to the recognition of cannabis vaping. Nonetheless, while it may well be assumed that individuals who vape nicotine might naturally take pleasure in cannabis vaping resulting from their familiarity with the method, it is just not clear whether cannabis vaping also increases using other substances.

Concerning the study

In the current study, the researchers examined the association between cannabis vaping and using other substances by evaluating three potential causes for such an association. They first examined whether familiarity with vaping devices through cannabis vaping increases the tendency to make use of other substances.

The second potential explanation addresses the perceptions of lower health risks related to vaping, which might imply that these individuals can be less more likely to take pleasure in using other substances that could possibly be harmful. The third potential explanation is predicated on the upper pharmacodynamic effects of cannabis vaping, which means an increased use of other substances to further these effects. For the study, the researchers analyzed data from a study called Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health or PATH that surveyed tobacco use amongst youths and adults in a nationally representative sample set.

The self-reported use of cannabis vapes up to now 12 months was determined using two questions on using electronic nicotine products and marijuana waxes, concentrates, marijuana, hash oil, or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in an electronic nicotine product. Individuals who answered affirmatively to each questions were considered cannabis vapers, while those individuals who used cannabis in other forms, similar to eating or smoking, were categorized as non-vaping cannabis users.

Seven categories were explored for analyzing using other substances related to cannabis vaping, similar to using cigars, cigarettes, alcohol, electronic(e)-cigarettes, other tobacco products, illicit drugs, and misuse of prescribed drugs. Sociodemographic characteristics similar to sex, age, ethnicity and race, education levels, and household income, in addition to some psychosocial variables, were considered throughout the evaluation.

Results

The outcomes indicated that one-third of the individuals who reported using cannabis up to now 12 months used cannabis vapes, and the sociodemographic evaluation showed that cannabis vapers were more educated, younger, and customarily not of non-Hispanic black ethnicity, as in comparison with cannabis users who didn’t vape. Self-perceptions of fine mental health were also lower amongst cannabis vapers.

Individuals who used cannabis vapes also showed a better prevalence of using other substances similar to alcohol, cigars, cigarettes, illicit drugs, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products, in addition to the tendency to misuse prescribed drugs. While the prevalence of alcohol consumption was not substantially different between cannabis users who vaped and those that didn’t vape, the prevalence of other substance use similar to cigars, illicit drugs, and other tobacco products, and misuse of prescribed drugs varied significantly between cannabis vapers and individuals who consumed cannabis through other modes similar to smoking or eating.

Moreover, the prevalence of cannabis vaping was highest amongst adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years and was found to diminish with age. Amongst individuals between the ages of 25 and 34, cannabis vapers constituted roughly 35%, while only 8.5% of cannabis users above the age of 65 reported using cannabis vapes.

Conclusions

Overall, the findings suggested that cannabis vaping was related to using other substances similar to alcohol, cigars, cigarettes, other tobacco products, illicit drugs, and prescription drug misuse. The usage of cannabis vapes was also higher amongst youths and adolescents and was observed to diminish with increasing age.

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