The U of M Monitoring the Future study has been tracking teenage drug use for 45 years.
Lead researcher Richard Miech says the jump in 8th, 10th and 12th graders vaping marijuana between 2018 and 2019 was surprisingly large.
“It’s quite substantial,” says Miech, “It’s second only to nicotine vaping last year which was the largest increase we’ve ever seen.”
The study found in 2019, past 30-day marijuana vaping was reported by 14% of 12th graders, an absolute increase of 6.5% from 2018. Additionally, 3.9% of 8th graders reported past 30-day use, an absolute increase of 1.3% from 2018 to 2019, and 12.6% of 10th graders reported such use in 2019, an absolute increase of 5.6% over 2018.
Miech adds the percentage of teens who’ve tried THC vaping products in the past year is also rising.
“20% of 12th graders report that they vaped marijuana in the past 12 months. As well as 20% of 10th graders.” says Miech. “It’s really becoming quite common. Marijuana vaping has made a lot of inroads among teens.”
While vaping marijuana has risen sharply, the study found no significant increase in the percentage of teenagers using marijuana.
Miech says one factor in the increase may be because teens view vaping as safer than smoking.
He says the study covered a period that ended in June. That means it was conducted before the national outbreak of cases of vaping-related lung damage that has killed more than 50 people in the U.S., including two in Michigan.
The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.