Hispanic teens were more likely to use e-cigarettes to vaporize marijuana than its black and white counterparts in 2020, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in JAMA Pediatrics.
The researchers found that 25.6% of Hispanic students reported smoking marijuana, compared with 19.4% of black students and 18.2% of white students. The study, which is an analysis of the results of 2017, 2018 and 2020 of the National Survey on Youth Tobacco, also revealed that increases in this recreational practice occurred among all racial and ethnic groups of these 3 years, with Hispanic students with the highest percentage increase, 11.6%, followed by black students at 8.8% and white students at 7.4%.
“Initial motivation [to do this study] had to better understand the prevalence of marijuana use in e-cigarettes among young people, particularly given the context of the emergence of 2019 e-cigarettes, or vaping, lung injury associated with product use (EVALI ) “, study author Christina Vaughan Watson, DrPH, a health scientist at the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said in an interview.
The findings could help physicians and physicians understand demographic variations among marijuana vapors and help inform specific interventions for specific populations.
“Understanding demographic variations among those who use marijuana in e-cigarettes can help inform evidence-based interventions that may resonate with specific populations,” Watson explained.
Margaret Thew, DNP, medical director of adolescent medicine at Children’s Wisconsin in Milwaukee, who did not participate in the study, said in an interview that the findings were “eye-opening” and revealed a pattern she had not seen before in his teen clinic. .
“I would have thought that African American or non-Hispanic blacks would have been a higher use group, because when we examine children this is what we usually get from the population we see here,” Ms. Thew.
Ms Thew said the findings had also led her to reconsider her clinic’s approach to examining adolescence for marijuana use, as well as addressing possible language barriers.
“We’re probably missing access to some kids we might need to look for,” he explained. “I also thought it sends a good message that we need to address part of our education probably in a slightly different way, especially if it’s a Hispanic population and English may not be the primary language.”
Watson said more research is needed to assess why there are differences in marijuana use in e-cigarettes among young people.
It has become the use of marijuana in e-cigarettes increasingly popular among American teens, with one in five 10th and 12th graders reporting marijuana use over the past year in a 2019 study by the National Institute Drug abuse.
Watson and colleagues also found statistically significant increases in marijuana smoking, with 19.5% of students reporting smoking marijuana using e-cigarettes in 2020, compared to 11.1% of those who smoked the drug in 2017. They believe the increase in marijuana use among young people can be attributed to states that increasingly legalize adult marijuana sales, which could affect ease of access and ‘social acceptance.
Ms. Thew believes the increase in marijuana vaping among young people can be attributed to the legalization of marijuana, which may send “a message to teens that it must be safe to use,” as well as the growing popularity of marijuana. electronic cigarettes.
In fact, as of April 2021, marijuana is legal for adults in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, medical marijuana is legal in 36 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“I mean, it’s definitely been used a lot more [e-cigarettes]. Steam and things like that definitely came out between 2019 and 2020, “Ms. Thew explained.” And I think marijuana use in itself is increasing tremendously, I think more children who would have consumed alcohol in the past use weeds. “
Although the public’s attitudes toward marijuana have relaxed, previous studies have linked it memory dysfunction, as well as long-term cognitive effects that may interfere with the perception of time and motor function. However, studies have also shown that cannabis use can combat age-related cognitive decline and help with pain reduction.
However, when it comes to teens, Watson and colleagues said the use of e-cigarettes among young people and young adults is not safe, regardless of the substances used in these products, including marijuana. In addition, they said marijuana use may lead to higher risks of more problematic use later in life, and added that evidence-based strategies to reduce marijuana use in e-cigarettes are important. to protect young people.
The study author and experts did not disclose any relevant financial relationship.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, which is part of the Medscape professional network.