Rumors on ‘safety’ of vaping marijuana aren’t true

Rumors on ‘safety’ of vaping marijuana aren’t true

We’re living through a pandemic that seriously affects the lungs, which makes the situation even more concerning. Youth who vape marijuana (or any other substance) are more likely to contract COVID-19, and if they do, they also are more likely to experience severe symptoms.

The truth is vaping is dangerous. Believe that, and not the list of rumours about its so-called “safety” listed below:

Rumor No. 1: Vaping is a safe alternative to smoking.

This is a false claim. Scientific research is very clear: Vaping is highly addictive and damages the body and the brain, especially in youth. In fact, some studies suggest vaping marijuana can be harder on our lungs than vaping other substances — yes, even nicotine.

Rumor No. 2: You can’t get addicted to marijuana.

This rumor also is untrue, especially considering the amount of THC — the addictive component in marijuana — continues to drastically increase, making the substance even more potent. Sadly, many vapers who think marijuana is risk-free end up developing a substance-use disorder.

Rumor No. 3: You can’t overdose on marijuana.

Because dying from marijuana misuse is rare, many people believe overdose is impossible. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Among last year’s most common substance-related emergency room visits, marijuana ranked second.

What can we do to keep our youth safe from substance misuse? The most significant deterrent is to build positive relationships between adults and youth. Whether it’s spending time as a family, showing an interest in your kids’ hobbies or chatting about their day, developing trust will help them feel more comfortable asking you for help when they need it.

Youth often fear they will be punished, misunderstood or judged if they come to an authority figure with a question or problem. It is our responsibility as adults to alleviate those fears by being approachable, attentive and nonjudgmental.

It can feel overwhelming to initiate these conversations, but studies show youth do listen when we talk with them, as long as they can tell we care. Don’t wait any longer to talk about substances with the youth in your life — they need you.

Kristie Skaggs is the coalition prevention specialist at OneEighty and part of the CIRCLE Coalition, whose mission is to reduce substance misuse among youth and adults, believing community asset building is vital to preventing youth substance use.

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