Vaping marijuana is actually worse for your health than using traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes, a new study suggest.
Researchers from the University of Michigan looked at teenagers who vaped cannabis, vaped nicotine and smoked cigarettes or pot.
They found that adolescents who vaped marijuana were about twice as likely to report respiratory symptoms, like wheezing, in the chest, which is a sign of lung damage.
The team says the findings do not mean vaping nicotine or smoking cigarettes or marijuana are not bad for you, but rather that these produce fewer symptoms of lung injury than vaping weed.
A new study from the University of Michigan found that adolescents who vaped marijuana were about twice as likely to report ‘wheezing and whistling’ in the chest than those who vaped nicotine and smoked cigarettes or pot (file image)
The researchers admit they were surprised by the findings of their report.
‘I thought that e-cigarettes [vaping nicotine[ would be the nicotine product most strongly associated with worrisome respiratory symptoms,’ said principal investigator Carol Boyd, a professor emeritus at the U-M School of Nursing
‘Our data challenges the assumption that smoking cigarettes or vaping nicotine is the most harmful to the lungs.
‘If we control for vaping cannabis in our analyses, we find there is a weaker relationship between e-cigarette or cigarette use and respiratory symptoms when compared to vaping cannabis.’
For the study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the team look at a sample of adolescents between ages 12 and 17 years from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study from 2016 to 2018.
PATH is a study run by the federal government that examines how and why people start using tobacco products, quit using them, and start using them again.
Teenagers were asked to describe their use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and cannabis over the last 30 days as well as over their lifetimes.
Each middle and high schooler was asked if they had any of these five symptoms over the last five years: a dry cough at night not linked to an infection; wheezing or whistling in the chest; trouble sleeping due to wheezing; trouble speaking to due to wheezing; and wheezing after exercising.
Adolescents who reported vaping marijuana were about twice as likely to report ‘wheezing and whistling’ in the chest than those who did not.
The team emphasized that this does not mean other smoke and vape products are good for you.
‘In short, it is all bad but if you also vape cannabis you have a greater number of unhealthy respiratory symptoms than if you just smoke cigarettes or marijuana, or vape e-cigarettes,’ Boyd said.
‘Without a doubt, cigarettes and e-cigarettes are unhealthy and not good for lungs. However, vaping marijuana appears even worse.’
Recently, vapid marijuana has been linked to a disease known as e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung illness (EVALI).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first identified EVALI in August 2019 when scores of young, healthy people began being hospitalized with severe lung infections.
Recently, vaping pot was linked to a lung disease known as EVALI, which hospitalized more than 2,000 Americans and killed 68 people. Green indicates 200-249 cases per state while gray indicates 1-9 cases per state
During investigations, researchers found a thick, gooey substance called vitamin E acetate in a sizable number of the samples of e-cigarettes used by sick people, and now believe that a combination of the vitamin derivative and THC is a ‘strong culprit.’
While vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or to use on the skin, inhaling oily droplets of it can be harmful.
It’s sticky and stays in the lungs, so much so that Dr James Pirkle of the CDC likened it to honey.
Scientists theorized that the oil might be coating the lungs, triggering inflammation and damage.
In fact, it causes burns that have been likened to those suffered by soldiers attacked with mustard gas during World War I.
The vitamin E-derived oil was only found in samples of patients who used black market products, not in those who used legal, medical marijuana
As of February 2020, there have been more than 2,000 hospitalizations across the U.S. and 68 deaths confirmed in 29 states and the District of Columbia.