The Vaping/Marijuana Connection

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Do Not Vape on red and white sign against blue sky.

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We already know that using vaping devices like JUUL can be risky for teens. Now we’ve learned that vaping has another risk: Teens who vape are a lot more likely to use marijuana than teens who don’t vape.

Researchers analyzed data from 21 previous studies that had a total of more than 128,000 participants ages 10 to 24. The research showed that overall, young people who used vaping devices (also called e-cigarettes) were 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana:

  • Young adults (ages 18 to 24) who vaped were 2.3 times more likely to use marijuana.
  • People ages 12 to 17 who vaped were 4.3 times more likely to use marijuana.

What could cause young people who vape—especially teens—to be several times more likely to use marijuana than those who don’t vape?

More research is needed to answer this question, but nicotine could be a contributing factor. Most vape fluid contains nicotine. Not only is nicotine highly addictive; it also can “prime” a person’s brain for using other drugs.

While the researchers looked only at the vaping/marijuana connection, previous research tells us that vaping can also increase the risk of using regular cigarettes.

The association between the use of vaping devices and marijuana use is just one more reason vaping is risky for teens.

Learn more: How many teens say they vape because they’re “hooked?”

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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