A new study indicates that teenagers who vape cannabis are more prone to delinquency. But does it overreach with its conclusions?
When it comes to marijuana, there are those who believe the herb is an all-healing plant put here by the gods of the universe to make the world a better place. There are also those that think that it is a devilish shrub rooted somewhere in the nine circles of hell.
It’s a good thing that the majority of the United States population doesn’t really buy into many of the foul indoctrinations connected to the use of this drug. Most of the population seems to understand that weed doesn’t cause wicked upticks in addiction, crime or any other quivers in the foundation of American morality. But southern scholars are trying to rattle that cage. Some are saying that while marijuana use might be relatively harmless to the fabric of adult society, teens who use cannabis, especially those who are vaping it, are more likely to become ruthless, thieving thugs with a propensity for violent crime. So, you know, lock your doors and fear the wrath of young punks.
Someone, Please, Think of the Teens!
Researchers from the University of Texas and San Antonio (UTSA) claim to have found evidence showing that young people who vape weed are prone to a life of hooliganism.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Criminal Justice, shows that kids who vaped in the 8th and 10th grade had an increased risk of committing theft and engaging in violent behaviors. The risk for this side of apocalyptic decline was all the more prevalent in those who opted to vape marijuana as opposed to nicotine juices.
“These findings might be explained by the ability to conceal an illegal substance through the mechanism of vaping, which can reduce the likelihood of detection and apprehension among youth who vape illicit substances and thereby embolden them to engage other delinquent behaviors,” the university wrote in a statement. “Youth who vape illicit substances such as marijuana may easily go unnoticed and/or unchallenged due to the ambiguity surrounding the substance they are vaping and the ease of concealability of vaping devices, which can look like a flash drive.”
The rub here is that since teens are using vaping devices to be clandestine in their pot toking endeavors — one of the latest drug trends, according to researchers — they are more likely to take their rebellion up a notch in other matters as well.
Dylan Jackson, criminal justice professor at UTSA, wants parents to understand that if their kids are vaping weed, they might also be gang banging, bringing weapons to school and committing random acts of vandalism. These pimple-faced weed vapers are even more likely to run away from home.
“Of all of the vaping and substance-using groups identified, results indicate that youth who ingest marijuana through a vape exhibit the highest risk of delinquent involvement and are at significantly greater risk of delinquent behavior than youth who vape non-illicit substances,” the report finds.
The Kids Are Probably Alright
Researchers are optimistic about how this study might be used to assist lawmakers in crafting legislation, not to mention give parents more tools in their disciplinary arsenal to keep their teen delinquents walking the line.
Jackson, who for some reason we imagine looking like a mustached stunt double for one of the actors in Super Troopers, had this to say about the study: “Our hope is that this research will lead to the recognition among policymakers, practitioners, and parents that the growing trend of adolescent vaping is not simply ‘unhealthy’ — or worse, an innocuous pastime — but that it may, in fact, be a red flag or an early marker of risk pertaining to violence, property offending, and other acts of misconduct.”
There are often concerns as states move to legalize marijuana that teen consumption will go through the roof and further contribute to a downtrodden civilization. But so far, that hasn’t happened. In fact, in Colorado, where weed has been legal for recreational use since 2014, the state has not experienced any new problems as a result of high teens roaming the land. Some reports even suggest that youth consumption rates are down in that part of the country. But even if they weren’t, there doesn’t appear to be a phenomenon of teenagers vaping weed and swelling into hardened thugs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 5 million kids are using vaporizers for one reason or another — for tobacco products or marijuana. Much of this use begins as sort of an experimental phase, “chasing flavors, or doing smoke tricks,” according to NPR.
In some cases, especially when nicotine is involved, addiction is possible.
The UTSA study, however, suggests that this experimental phase in young adults can spell bigger problems than just a monkey on their back.
“The findings suggest that there may be something criminogenic about vaping among adolescents, but that the strength of the relationship between vaping and delinquency is contingent on what is being vaped, with marijuana vaping being most heavily correlated with delinquency,” the study concludes.
TELL US, does covert vaping make you feel more rebellious?