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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Little Research on Teenage Hashish Use

The changing tide of views regarding marijuana has led to an increase of adolescent use and exposure. While there has been a considerable amount of research on teenage marijuana use, there has been little research on the impact of different forms of cannabis products, Medical News Today reports.

Researchers affiliated with New York University's (NYU) Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR), conducted a study, the first of its kind, which examined the prevalence and correlates of teen hashish use in a nationally representative sample. Recreational marijuana use was first legalized in Colorado and Washington in 2012. Focusing on data between the years 2007-2011, the researchers analyzed how sociodemographic factors and reasons for marijuana use were related to recent hashish use, according to the article.

"Nearly one out of ten teens reported ever using hashish and it was used by a quarter of lifetime marijuana users," said Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, a CDUHR affiliated researcher and an assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC). "Hashish and other marijuana use tended to share many of the same correlates; however, our results found that risk factors for regular marijuana use were often much stronger risk factors for hashish, a much more potent form of the drug."

While hashish is consumed in the same manner as marijuana, hashish has a much higher Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content - ranging anywhere from 2-20. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana which provides users the “high.” The potency of hashish can be increased by converting it into a more concentrated oil.

"Another key finding was that other drug use was a robust risk factor for hashish use," said Dr. Palamar. "Other illicit drug use, regular cigarette smoking, and frequent alcohol use each increased the risk for hashish use; however, a main finding was that as frequency of other marijuana use increased, so too did risk for recent hashish use."

The findings were published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

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