Findings of a new research have revealed that teens use electronic cigarettes to smoke marijuana. In a survey involving about 4,000 teens in Connecticut, researchers found that nearly one in five high school students who use electronic cigarettes also use the vaping device to smoke pot.

Study researcher Meghan Morean, from the Oberlin College in Ohio and colleagues raised concern that the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes could encourage teenagers to use the device to vaporize cannabis, which could potentially expose them to higher concentrations of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in weed.

Morean and colleagues, who surveyed over 3,800 students from five high schools in Connecticut for their study, found that in those who had used e-cigarettes, 18 percent also used the device to vaporize cannabis in some form including THC-infused wax and hash oil.

Morean said that forms of cannabis that can be vaporized can be many times stronger compared with smoked marijuana. THC concentration of vaporized waxes and hash oil, for instance, can be up to 30 times more than that of dried cannabis.

While e-cigarettes are designed to vaporize solutions that contain nicotine, Morean noted that teenagers can be resourceful as the vaporizers provide them with a better way to hide what they are actually inhaling.

"It's so much easier to conceal e-cigarette pot use," said Morean. "Everybody knows that characteristic smell of marijuana, but this vapor is different. It's possible that teenagers are using pot in a much less detectable way."

David Tinkelman, from the National Jewish Health in Denver, said that e-cigarettes allowed kids to use marijuana in a less detectable way, which reduced their fears of getting caught. He added that this could get young people to experiment more.

In the students who were surveyed for the study, nearly 30 percent admitted that they have tried using marijuana and hashish, and under 19 percent said that they have used both cannabis and e-cigarettes.

The researchers likewise said that teens in the study were 27 times more likely to use e-cigarettes to vaporize cannabis than adults who use the device. Males and younger students were also found to have increased odds of vaporizing pot with e-cigarettes.

The researchers admitted that they do not know how representative of their study is of the whole country but they said that they have tried to involve participants from diverse populations and different economic backgrounds.

Photo: Ecig Click | Flickr

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