The Journal Pediatrics conducted a study this year to see if younger teens who used common tobacco products were more likely to use cannabis a couple years later. The results showed that heavier e-cigarette use meant higher odds of heavy cannabis use down the line for younger adolescents.
The study abstract conclusion was this, “E-cigarette use predicts subsequent marijuana use among youth, with a stronger associations among young adolescents. Reducing youth access to e-cigarettes may decrease downstream marijuana use.”
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There are many factors at play, however, and one thing holding us back from coming to any conclusions on the real dangers and factors at work here is that cannabis is federally considered a Schedule I drug, which means that from flowers to vaping to comparative studies, we won’t learn nearly enough until it’s freed from its restrictive status.
We’re in an era of vaping, however, mostly e-cigarettes as far as population ratio is concerned, but also deeply in the cannabis community. Vaping is simply all the rage and when a substance becomes popular in our culture, it’s conceivable that impressionable and curious adolescents and teens are going to experiment and use them whenever they can get their hands on them.
While the use of cannabis is not encouraged in the minor population, unless the kid has a malady that requires the herb’s medical benefits, nicotine, even in an e-cigarette, has proven to be far more addictive than cannabis could ever be. It also causes lung cancer, whereas cannabis is shown to reduce cancer cells. There has also never been a case of lung cancer or COPD that was associated with cannabis use alone.
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And while adolescents will be adolescents, which means a good deal of that good ol’ fashioned experimentation, we don’t want our kids smoking or vaping anything at such a developmental age. The study, however, only shows us the data, not the solution (aside from the advice that we reduce youth access to e-cigs).
Many people believe that vaping nicotine is a safer method of smoking because of the lack of carcinogens and chemicals associated with smoked cigarettes. However, there needs to be more studies done on the effects of e-cigarettes and how they affect lungs of all ages. As for vaping cannabis, well, again, we don’t want our kids vaping at a young age, but there are a lot of “buts” when it comes to cannabis and once it’s taken off its Schedule I, we can study its many facets without impediment.