Conducted by the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study examined the association between respiratory symptoms in adolescents who were users of cigarettes and vapes using THC and/or nicotine oil.
Using survey results, researchers found that when vaping cannabis, adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had a greater chance of sustaining lung injury through dry coughs, wheezing and other symptoms that had an effect in their speech, sleep, and exercise. The extent and duration of these symptoms are unknown.
“We found, and it was something that surprised us a bit, that it was the lifetime vaping cannabis that was associated with a far greater number of symptoms and a higher likelihood of having each of these symptoms than using either e-cigarettes or cigarettes,” lead author Carol Boyd told U.S. News.
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Results from the survey were compiled from December 2016 to January 2018, before the appearance of EVALI — the vaping illness that affected a large percentage of consumers. Boyd explained that some of the symptoms that were reported in the survey were likely associated with EVALI, which effected mainly THC vape users.
E-cigarettes and vapes are relatively new technologies that, while eliminating lung irritants such as smoke and paper, add in a variety of elements and chemicals that are harmful and aren’t all that understood. As for this survey, the concluding data contradicts the common perception that vaping and smoking nicotine is worse for your lungs than vaping and smoking THC.
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“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.”