Side Effects of Cannabis Vaping Linked to Bronchitic Symptoms in Young Adults: Study

The findings of new research suggests that teens vaping cannabis may face an increased risk of suffering bronchitis and other respiratory symptoms.

Users who vaped marijuana via e-cigarette had a higher likelihood of suffering from persistent cough, wheezing and phlegm, according to a study published December 22 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Researchers with the University of Southern California in Los Angeles conducted a cross-sectional study involving 2,500 young adults recruited from high schools in Southern California. They collected data from June 2018 to October 2019 using self-reported lifetime use, six month, and 30-day vaping habit use.

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Overall, 43% of young adults reported vaping nicotine and 38% reported vaping cannabis. Of those who used either product, 94% indicated they experienced shortness of breath and wheezing, and 86% provided data indicating they suffered chronic bronchitis.

Researchers defined bronchitic symptoms as having a daily cough for three months in a row, congestion or phlegm other than with a cold, a persistent wheeze over the last year, and shortness of breath when hurrying on level ground or walking up a slight hill.

Alternately, having a bronchitis diagnosis from a healthcare professional also counted.

The research indicates side effects of cannabis vaping at any level were associated with increased risk of bronchitic symptoms. According to the findings, vaping marijuana three or more times in the past month more than doubled the risk of having chronic wheezing.

“This study provides new evidence for an independent association between any level of cannabis vaping and persistent symptoms of bronchitis,” the researchers wrote.

Last year, researchers were puzzled by a multi-state outbreak of vaping lung disease landing teens and adults in the hospital with severe respiratory symptoms. The cause was linked to vaping marijuana, or products containing THC, as well as vitamin E acetate ingredients.

The outbreak led to nearly 3,000 hospitalizations and more than 50 deaths. Despite the link between vaping cannabis products, people across the country continue to vape marijuana leading to other side effects.

In recent years vaping has become the most popular form of tobacco use among teens in the U.S. largely driven by the use of candy-like flavors.

Research published last year indicated JUUL, the vaping industry leader, designed their products to deliver higher rates of nicotine, modeled much like Marlboro cigarettes, to encourage addiction among a new generation.

“Findings of this cross-sectional study suggest that cannabis vaping is associated with increased risk of bronchitic symptoms and wheeze in young adults,” the researchers concluded. “Further research is needed to understand the temprality of the association and the mechanisms underlying the difference between nicotine and cannabis vaping in the risk of bronchitic symptoms and wheeze.”


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