According to a recent Washington State University (WSU) study more U.S. high school seniors reported vaping cannabis in states where it is legal only for medical purposes than in states where all adult use is permitted.
For the study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence Report WSU analyzed responses from 3,770 high school seniors to the 2020 Monitoring the Future survey, a project which has been surveying U.S. youth since 1975.
About 27% of twelfth graders in medical marijuana states reported vaping cannabis compared to 19% in states that prohibited cannabis or allowed it for adult use, according to a WSU press release announcing the study.
“More than a quarter of our youth in medical states were vaping cannabis. That’s a lot,” said Christian Maynard, a WSU sociology Ph.D. student and first author of the study.
According to today’s press release researchers also analyzed a subset of 556 participants who had also answered questions about access to cannabis vaping products and risk perceptions.
The study could not identify exact reasons for the high rates of teen vaping in medical marijuana states, but Maynard suspected there may be a couple factors at play.
“It’s possible the context of saying cannabis is for medical reasons is contributing to the fact that youth view it as less risky,” said Maynard.