Background: Along with changes in cannabis laws in the United States and other countries, new products for consuming cannabis are emerging, with unclear public health implications. Vaporizing or "vaping" cannabis is gaining popularity, but little is known about its prevalence or consequences.
Methods: This study characterized the prevalence and current patterns of vaping cannabis among a large national sample of cannabis users. An online survey was distributed through Facebook ads targeting individuals with interests related to cannabis use. The sample comprised 2910 cannabis users (age: 18-90, 84% male, 74% Caucasian).
Results: A majority (61%) endorsed lifetime prevalence of ever vaping, 37% reported vaping in the past 30 days, 20% reported vaping more than 100 lifetime days, and 12% endorsed vaping as their preferred method. Compared to those that had never vaped, vaporizer users were younger, more likely to be male, initiated cannabis at an earlier age, and were less likely to be African American. Those that preferred vaping reported it to be healthier, better tasting, produced better effects, and more satisfying. Only 14% reported a reduction in smoking cannabis since initiating vaping, and only 5% mixed cannabis with nicotine in a vaporizer. Many cannabis users report vaping cannabis, but currently only a small subset prefers vaping to smoking and reports frequent vaping.
Conclusion: Increases in availability and marketing of vaping devices, and the changing legal status of cannabis in the United States and other countries may influence patterns of use. Frequent monitoring is needed to assess the impact of changing cannabis laws and regulations.
Keywords: Cannabis; E-cigarettes; Facebook; Marijuana; Survey; Vaping.
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