Young users of cannabis or vapes are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour, the study warns.
Teenagers who smoke cannabis and/or electronic cigarettes containing nicotine seem more likely to have poor school marks and engage in risky sexual behaviour, a new study suggests.
Young people continue to perceive the risks associated with cannabis use or vaping nicotine as minor, increasing their social acceptability and leading to an increase in consumption.
“We have seen that young people who vape electronic cigarettes, use cannabis or do both are more likely to have poor school grades, report difficulties with concentration and doing their work because of physical, emotional and psychological problems,” said study co-author Dr. Nicholas Chadi, a pediatrician and clinical researcher specializing in adolescent medicine and addiction at Ste-Justine Hospital.
Dr. Chadi and his colleagues looked at a large sample of about 30,000 teenagers attending high school in the United States, many of whom consumed cannabis, vaped nicotine or did both. Students who engaged in any of the three behaviours fared less well academically than those who did not.
Young users of cannabis were more likely to engage in sexual relations without a condom, while those who also vaped nicotine were more likely to engage in sex after consuming drugs or alcohol.
“Young people who vape or consume cannabis are more likely to have more sexual partners, of having three sexual partners over the past three months,” said Dr. Chadi. “Not all young people who vape engage in risky sexual behaviour, but some do.”
The study does not determine whether the poor academic performance preceded the consumption or followed it. But if anything, the survey should warn parents and doctors dealing with a teen who vapes that their conduct may possibly be linked to other problems or at-risk behaviours, in academic or sexual activities.
“We can definitely say that young people who vape or smoke cannabis are the young people more at risk of having problems of concentration or academic success,” said Dr. Chadi.
Jean-Benoit Legault – Presse Canadienne – February 17, 2021.