Nearly one in four Arizona teens have used a highly potent form of marijuana known as marijuana concentrate, according to a new study by Arizona State University researchers.
Among nearly 50,000 eighth, 10th, and 12th graders from the 2018 Arizona Youth Survey, a biennial survey of Arizona secondary school students, one-third (33%) had tried some form of marijuana, and nearly a quarter (24%) had tried marijuana concentrate.
Marijuana concentrates have about three times more THC, the constituent of marijuana that causes the "high," than a traditional marijuana flower. This is concerning because higher doses of THC have been linked to increased risk of marijuana addiction, cognitive impairment and psychosis, said the study's lead researcher, Madeline Meier, an ASU assistant professor of psychology.
The research team also found that teens who used concentrates had more risk factors for addiction…They found that teens who had used marijuana concentrates were worse off on every addiction risk factor.
The study "Cannabis Concentrate Use in Adolescents," is published in the early online edition (Aug. 26, 2019) of Pediatrics.
The team…also found that teens who had used concentrates had much higher rates of e-cigarette use. One explanation for this might be that teens are using e-cigarettes to vape marijuana concentrate, according to Meier. Earlier studies, including those by Meier, have shown that youth put marijuana in e-cigarettes to conceal their marijuana use.
"Vaping marijuana can be passed off as nicotine vaping," Meier explained.
"What concerns me most is that parents might have no idea that their child is using marijuana, especially if their child is using marijuana concentrate," said Meier. "Marijuana is not harmless, particularly for adolescents."