Teenagers using e-cigarettes to vape marijuana


HOUSTON – E-cigarettes have jumped in popularity among teenagers in recent years. Now, new research suggests some teenagers are using them to smoke marijuana.

Yale University School of Medicine had nearly 4,000 high school students in Connecticut fill out an anonymous survey. Nearly a third of the students had tried e-cigarettes, and of those, 18 percent said they vaped marijuana.

"When you looked at the kids who said they had both used both e-cigarettes and had experimented with cannabis in the past, the number went up even higher to around 27 percent," said Dr. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Ph.D., Yale University School of Medicine.

Often, they're smoking hash oil, a thick, yellow resin extracted from marijuana plants. It tends to be more potent and its thought to have less of a distinguishable scent.

"Vaporizing anything will take away a little bit of the smell," Zach Jones, co-owner of Max & Zach's Vapor Shop, said.

He said this is not an e-cig problem.

"If people are going to smoke marijuana, they're going to smoke marijuana regardless of what device they use."

The problem with that is there some evidence marijuana may disrupt development of the growing teenage brain.

"Adolescents could actually lose eight IQ points from long term use of marijuana and even when they stop smoking marijuana, you know they decide to quit completely, that still may not completely return as they reach adulthood," Dr. Helene Sheena of Kelsey Seybold said.

Even though the students took an anonymous survey, some experts believe the numbers actually under-represent marijuana vaping.