Highly-Potent Marijuana Products Are Getting More Attention From US Teens

U.S. teens have been trying new drugs that contain extremely high levels of marijuana’s THC. The chemical is known for its psychological effects but researchers warned that high exposure may harm young people. 

The recently introduced “marijuana concentrates” give different effects compared to common cannabis. Researchers said the new drugs have been getting the attention of hundreds of teenagers in Arizona. 

Marijuana concentrates have THC levels three times higher than in dried marijuana flower. Among adults, exposure to high concentrations of the chemical has been linked to increased risk of cognitive impairment, psychosis and marijuana dependence.

The sudden increase in the number of teens using marijuana concentrates was surprising and concerning, according to Madeline Meier, an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University. The increase comes amid the legalization of recreational marijuana across the U.S. 

Meier and her team detailed the use and effects of marijuana concentrates in their study recently published in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers analyzed data on nearly 50,000 eighth, 10th and 12th graders from Arizona. 

Results showed that nearly a quarter of the participants were exposed to the new drugs at least once in their lives. The same number of young marijuana concentrates users could be similar in other states that already legalized medical cannabis, Meier told Live Science

Another problem linked to the high-THC drugs is the increased interest of teens in using e-cigarettes. Researchers said chances of vaping were found three times higher in teens who used marijuana concentrates. 

E-cigarettes have been marked by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a serious health epidemic in the U.S. because of the growing number of people developing serious health problems after using the electronic device. 

"As findings emerge showing high rates of concentrate use in adolescents, and increased cannabis-related risks associated with the use of high-THC cannabis, policy makers might consider putting a limit on THC concentration in cannabis," the study states. 

However, the researchers noted their study only focused on Arizona. Future research should focus on the use of marijuana concentrates in other states and the effects of the trend in young Americans. 

Vaping The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has marked e-cigarette use as a serious health epidemic in the U.S. due to growing number of people developing serious health problems linked to the electronic device. Pixabay