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Comparison of locations where young adults use cannabis and implications for harm reduction

Recently, more discreet methods of using cannabis (compared to smoking) such as vaping and edible use are increasingly popular. These methods allow for use in a wider range of settings and could increase the risk of cannabis-related harm.

A study that surveyed bachelor’s and master’s students at a U.S. university aimed to find out if cannabis users are more likely to vape cannabis or use edibles in locations where discretion is important, such as a car. The other main goal was to find out if cannabis vaping and edible use increase chances of driving while high and other cannabis-related problems.

Of the 357 students surveyed who had used cannabis in the past year, 95.5% had smoked cannabis, 52.4% had vaped cannabis, and 62.2% had used edibles. More frequent vaping was associated with driving while high on cannabis, and 47% of the students surveyed had done so in the part year. Frequent edible use suggested a higher likelihood of engaging in a cannabis-related risk behavior.

This study suggests that more subtle methods of using cannabis can lead to higher prevalence of cannabis use in settings other than a private residence. Vaping in particular may lead to higher amounts of using cannabis in a car and potentially driving while under the influence. It is unclear whether more frequent cannabis use leads to higher instances of vaping and using edibles, or if these discreet methods are what leads to the increased use. It will require further research to determine which association exists.

Take away: Increased use of discreet methods of using cannabis such as vaping or using edibles may lead to higher instances of driving while high and other cannabis-related risk behaviors. It is important for both students and authority figures to be aware of this.

Jones, C.B., Meier, M.H., Pardini, D.A. (2018). Comparison of the locations where young adults smoke, vape, and eat/drink cannabis: Implications for harm reduction. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 131. doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2018.09.002

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