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'Policy needs to change': Study finds teen THC vaping doubled in last 8 years

Experts warn that vaping THC is one of the most dangerous ways of consuming the drug.

PHOENIX — Could vaping technology be replacing joints for marijuana use?

A new study found in the US and Canada, vaping THC use more than doubled since 2013.

“Most people think it’s safe” Carol Boyd, co-director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking, and Health at the University of Michigan, said. “It isn’t. it doesn’t appear to be. It appears to be less safe.”

Boyd said teens who used vape pens to consume marijuana were much more likely to experience serious respiratory issues.

“My studies showed that vaping cannabis even in your lifetime showed more symptoms than if you were smoking cannabis in the last 30 days,” Boyd said.

The culprit in these vape products is twofold. First, the oils normally contain a much higher concentration of THC. Second, the oils are likely to have dangerous additives like Vitamin E acetate.

“Truthfully I can’t imagine why anyone would think inhaling the vapor of chemicals into one's lung would be safe,” Boyd said.

The CDC has warned about Vitamin E acetate which can stick to the lining of the lungs. It has been linked to hospitalizations and deaths.

The study found that monthly users of marijuana were much more likely to rely on vape products.

“It showed a seven-fold increase" in use in the past month,” Carmen Lim, the study's author, said.

Lim said policy changes are needed to better regulate the products, keep ingredients standardized, add warning labels, and work to combat misinformation about the dangers.

According to the CDC 2,807 people were hospitalized or died by February of 2020.

Both experts said we do not know the long-term impacts of vaping THC on teens. The issue is so new, there is not enough data to determine the lasting impacts decades later.

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