• June 22, 2024

Study: THC Vapes More Risky Than Nicotine Vapes

 Study: THC Vapes More Risky Than Nicotine Vapes

Credit: Clear Cannabis

A new study shows that teens who vape pot are more likely to wheeze and cough than those who smoke cigarettes or vape nicotine. Appearing in the March 3 Journal of Adolescent Health, the study found that U.S. youth aged 12 to 17 show they have a higher risk of wheezing, suffering from a dry cough and having their sleep, speech or exercise impeded by wheezing if they vape marijuana products.

man vaping marijuana
Credit: Clear Cannabis

The results are from the U.S. federally funded Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. It states that all symptoms are strongly related to lung injury, and it’s unclear how long they will last, said lead researcher Carol Boyd, co-director of the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health.

“We found, and it was something that surprised us a bit, that it was the lifetime vaping cannabis that was associated with a far greater number of symptoms and a higher likelihood of having each of these symptoms than using either e-cigarettes or cigarettes,” Boyd said. “Lifetime” referred to any past use.

Survey responses from nearly 15,000 teens showed that vaping pot increased their risk of wheezing or whistling in the chest by 81 percent compared with a 15 percent increased risk from cigarettes and a 9 percent increased risk from nicotine e-cigarettes.

Vaping pot also increased teens’ risk of:

  • Sleep disturbed by wheezing by 71 percent;
  • Speech limited due to wheezing by 96 percent;
  • Wheezing during or after exercise by 33 percent; and
  • Dry coughing at night by 26 percent.

Smoking and nicotine e-cigarette use also increased risks for these indications of lung injury, just not by as much, Boyd said, according to an article on usnews.com.

“I think that industry would probably like to show that vaping e-cigarettes is healthier, that it’s the cannabis vaping causing these respiratory symptoms not the e-cigarettes. This is not true. E-cigarette vaping also causes symptoms among youth,” Boyd said. “However, in our study, and when we took into account their e-cigarette use, we found higher odds of having these respiratory symptoms among youth who had vaped cannabis.”

The survey was taken between December 2016 and January 2018—prior to the wave of lung injuries among young people that occurred in 2019. It was given the name EVALI, or e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury.

Boyd thinks some of these lung problems reported in the survey were probably due to EVALI, which has been linked to pot-laced e-liquids and particularly those containing vitamin E acetate. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four out of five patients with EVALI had vaped cannabis versus only about 16 percent who said they only vaped nicotine.

The CDC has stated that vitamin E acetate was found in the lung fluid of all patients with EVALI.