What 2021 Taught Us About Young People And Cannabis Use

By Benzinga Staff Writer, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

An October 2021 study of U.S. and Canadian vaping showed trends upward, with teens starting to prefer higher potency cannabis products over lower dosed products and nicotine options.

Codi Peterson is a pediatric pharmacist and educator with an M.S. in medical cannabis science from the University of Maryland. Peterson said the discretion of a vape pen allows it to be used in most places, increasing the risk of an unhealthy relationship consisting of overuse and possible addiction.

“As far as I can tell, little has been done to curb the problem of teen vape use,” Peterson said.

Lo Friesen, CEO of cannabis extracts processor Heylo, agrees that teen use should be curtailed. She said that efforts need to come from more than the cannabis industry.

She added that the 2019 EVALI lung crisis heightened industry needs to combat the unregulated market by further restricting non-medical access to minors and highlighting concerns on glycol and glycerin additives.

“We still have a lot of work to do with respect to better regulations and education for consumers, but reducing teen cannabis vaping is not exclusively the responsibility of the cannabis industry,” Friesen said, urging additional outside action. Impact On Developing Brains Remains Concerns over the impact of cannabis on neuro-development continues, with adults up to 25 potentially impacted. A June investigation using neuroimaging and behavioral data found that cannabis was associated with cortical thinning in predominantly prefrontal regions in ages 14 to 19. The findings suggest that use could affect development in parts of the brain, particularly those rich in CB1 receptors.

In September, a study of alcohol and cannabis use on developing brains resulted in “small to moderate” disruptions in the brain’s structure and function while also creating neurocognitive impairments.

Physicians noted concern, but Peterson eased those to some degree.


“At this time, the therapeutic use of medical cannabis has never been associated with adverse effects on brain development–only unmonitored recreational use has,” he stated. Additional Education Needed Cannabis often has education gaps, and youth consumption may be the most concerning at this time.

Adryan Corcione, a journalist with a background in teen drug use, said comprehensive drug education is needed.

“Rather than a fear-mongering abstinence-only curriculum, youth need to understand the risks that come with teen cannabis consumption, including the very real punitive consequences for possessing and distributing cannabis,” said Corcione, who also called for an end of youth cannabis-based incarcerations.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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