*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
American teens are partaking of pot in any way they can, from smoking to vaping to eating marijuana edibles, new research shows.
The study, of Los Angeles-area high school students, found that about one-third had ever used marijuana. And most of them had used it in more than one way.
Smoking was most popular, but many kids also took the drug via “edibles” or “vaping” — where cannabis aerosol is inhaled, smoke-free, with the help of electronic cigarettes.
There are a few reasons the findings are concerning, said senior researcher Adam Leventhal, a professor at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, in Los Angeles.
“Smoking has traditionally deterred some kids from trying marijuana,” Leventhal said. “They don’t like the way it tastes, or the way it burns their throat.”
In contrast, he said, kids may be readily attracted to the “alternative” ways of using the drug — like gummy bears spiked with cannabis extracts, or via vaping liquids that are flavored like bubblegum.
Leventhal pointed to another potential worry: If teens are using multiple forms of marijuana — and having greater exposure to its active ingredient — could that increase the odds of chronic, problem use?
Past studies have found that teenagers who use marijuana are at greater risk of marijuana use disorders in adulthood, Leventhal said. Some research has also suggested they may have somewhat lower IQ scores or poorer memory and attention.
It’s not clear, though, whether using multiple types of marijuana might exacerbate any effects, according to Leventhal.
The findings were based on a survey of nearly 3,200 10th graders at 10 Los Angeles-area schools.
Overall, 34 percent said they’d ever used marijuana. Smoking was the most popular method, but almost 62 percent had taken the drug in at least two forms.
About 8 percent of all kids who’d used marijuana had tried all three methods the survey asked about: smoking, vaping and edibles.
The findings were published online in the journal JAMA Network Open.