According to studies by health officials, there has been a sharp increase in vaping use amongst teens and even children. This is alarming for parents, as many young people can easily hide their use of vaping products. Vaping products are often sold in sweet and appealing scents and flavors, without the harsh tell-tale cigarette smell that usually indicates to parents that their kids are smoking.
The same holds true for the use of marijuana products. Vaping does not produce smoke. It produces vapor, as the name indicates. The smell of marijuana is very distinctive but is significantly decreased when the product is vaped. This can also make it much more challenging for parents to recognize when their teens are vaping marijuana.
Marijuana use can be something of a hot-button topic, and opinions can vary widely by state. That said, there has been significant research indicating that vaping marijuana can lead to more harm than the use of cigarettes.
Risks of teen vaping habits
It’s widely known that cigarette use can lead to a host of health concerns, including lung cancer. Vaping was long touted as a healthy alternative to cigarette use, but that is not the case. This is particularly true for teens and young adults. When marijuana is thrown into the mix, there may be the impression that it is a much healthier way for the drug to be consumed.
In reality, data resulting from studies demonstrate that smoking cigarettes and marijuana, along with vaping nicotine, can lead to much less lung damage than vaping marijuana can.
What does this mean for your troubled teen who may be leaning on vaping marijuana as a coping tool, or perhaps just to up their cool quotient?
Teens may start to develop respiratory concerns that can quickly escalate into serious health concerns. Signs of vaping related respiratory concerns may include:
- Wheezing and whistling sounds heard from the chest
- Disruption in sleep, as a result of the wheezing
- Speech changes, also resulting from the wheezing
- Struggling to keep up with physical activity
- Dry cough, unrelated to any other infection or illness
- A new asthma diagnosis
With increasing cases of deaths associated with the use of vaping products, with both nicotine and marijuana, there is much to be concerned about.
Why is vaping marijuana so much more harmful?
Several factors could be to blame for vaped marijuana having such a harsh impact on the lungs. Research is ongoing, as these products and the fallout from using them are relatively new.
One theory is that vaping results in much more of the product being inhaled into the lungs versus smoking. This is true for all products that are vaped.
Vitamin E acetate has been found in some of the marijuana vaping products. Vitamin E can be found naturally occurring in several foods. It is also used widely in cosmetic products and as a dietary supplement. In these applications, Vitamin E will not cause any harm or injury. However, when inhaled, this otherwise healthy vitamin could potentially have an impact on normal lung function.
Another concern is that the vaped marijuana may not be sourced from a reputable seller. To get the products they want, troubled teens may source the marijuana from sellers looking to maximize their profits. Whether in person or online, these sellers could be mixing it with chemicals that may be harmful. This is true with any illicit drugs and substances that troubled teens may seek out. There is no way to tell what the marijuana may be mixed with until there are adverse side effects.
Studies have demonstrated that the abuse of products containing THC, particularly before the age of 16, can result in several serious health issues. The potential for addiction can be great amongst this age group, as it can potentially negatively impact their education, social lives, and future.
Teens who vape marijuana may also be smoking regular nicotine cigarettes and engaging in other harmful activities. This can all contribute to a weakened immune system and an increase in the potential for damage to the lungs.
What can be done?
When you have a troubled teen relying on marijuana and other substances, you may face several challenging questions:
- Is your teen using these substances as a negative coping mechanism?
- Are there concerns with dependency on this and other drugs to be concerned about?
- Is your teen struggling with mental health issues?
- Is your teen going to be receptive to the help you are stepping in to offer?
Before answering these questions, your teen should be evaluated by a physician. There is little known about the associated dangers of long-term marijuana vaping use, but respiratory issues are seen in those who have minimal use of the products. Your teen should have their respiratory concerns addressed and asthma treated if it has become an issue.
For those who are also smoking cigarettes, being treated by a physician can also offer recommendations for smoking cessation products.
Once the physical concerns are within control, the mental and emotional sides can be addressed. The real issue that parents may find is that their troubled teens don’t necessarily respond in the most positive ways when confronted about their vaping use. They may repeat things they’ve been told about the health benefits of the products and how it is healthier to vape than smoke.
Education is often the best cure for drug use, abuse, and other similar dependency concerns. For a resistant teenager, however, this can prove challenging. Getting help from knowledgeable and compassionate professionals who understand
At Help Your Teen Now, we can provide guidance to help your family and your troubled teen. A residential treatment center can offer a structured environment with licensed mental health professionals who can develop treatment plans to meet the needs of the individual. In a residential treatment center’s safe and structured environment, your troubled teen can learn more about positive coping skills and other important mental wellness skills.