Vaping, Juuling and THC: What You Need to Know

Vaping, Juuling and THC: What You Need to Know

What is Vaping all About

More and more across middle and high schools in America, we are seeing an increase in vaping. To put it simply, vaping is using an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or other vaping device. The term “vaping” is used because the battery-powered device turns liquid nicotine into a vapor.

The draw is that the liquid comes in a bunch of tasty flavors, including watermelon, bubblegum, fruit flavors and mint. Sounds good, right? That’s the problem. It tastes good too.

But it’s not good. And here’s why:

There is a misconception that the e-cigarettes only contain flavoring and water, but no nicotine. Because of this flawed thinking, many think that vaping is actually less dangerous then smoking an actual cigarette.

The Truth 

The nicotine that is in liquid can sometimes be more than that contained in a cigarette.

This is extremely serious because nicotine is addictive. Not only that, but it can also stunt the growth of a developing brain. Remember, brains do not become fully developed until the age of 24 (this is why we can’t rent a car until 24 years old). This may be seen in the areas of inattention or learning delays.

We are all exposed to vaping on a daily basis. Whether it be through tv, social media or word of mouth. Exposure coupled with a young brain that may be prone to experimentation and the feeling of invincibility, can lead to harmful choices.

Vaping vs. Juuling

Many people interchange the words vaping and juuling. There is a small difference that is worth an explanation

Vaping is when you use a vaporizer to inhale a nicotine-laden vapor.

Photos of Vapes

 

 

A juul is a brand name for a typical type of e-cigarette. They look like a USB flash drive so do not look like a typical e-cigarette.

Photo of a Juul

Both vaping or using a juul are equally dangerous. Additionally, because it is not yet regulated it is impossible to tell if other, more harmful toxins are in the vape solution.

If you would like to know more about vaping, you can follow this link, and this link

THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly knows as THC is one of about 113 cannobinoids found in cannabis. Put simply, it is the chemical in marijuana that is responsible for its psychological effects. Now that marijuana is legal in 29 states, people may be under the impression that it does not cause harm.

Sure, maybe it doesn’t cause harm if you are using it to treat certain illness. However, it causes significant harm to a brain over time when taken recreationally; especially to a not yet developed teenage brain.

THC and the Brain

The Amygdala

The Amygdala is the part of our brain that is responsible for regulating emotion. Studies have shown that the brains of adolescent who use THC do not have a well-developed amygdala. If you are wondering what this looks like, it looks like anxiety, fear, and panic.

The Hippocampus

This is the part of the brain that is responsible for learning and forming new memories. Not only that, but it also connects certain emotions to these memories (think about how hearing a song brings back a feeling and memory). A person with a compromised hippocampus may have impaired learning.

The Neocortex

The neocortex is responsible for higher order thinking, such as complex thinking, movement and feeling. The neocortex is also responsible for spatial reasoning and language. Not working properly, a person may experience altered thinking, sensation and judgement.

These are only some of the areas of the brain effected by THC. What is important to know is that even a little bit of marijuana use can impact the executive functions in the brain, which are developing in adolescents. Executive functions including working memory, processing speed, focus, impulse control and time management.

It is unclear if there are long term effects of THC use if it is stopped at a young enough age. However, it does seem that the earlier a person starts using, the more likely they are to develop asubstance use disorder later in life.

 

 

No matter how you look at it, vaping, juuling and the use of THC are dangerous. At a time when adolescent brains are developing, these substances can severely impact the rate of maturity.

 

Additional Resources

Vaping & Juuling

THC

 

written by Monica Fugedi
Clinical Certified Anxiety Treatment Professional (CCATP)
Wellness/Crisis Counselor
Groves High School

 

 

 

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