They’re everywhere: in the supermarket, the local coffee shop, or walking down the street. Everywhere you go, everyone seems to be vaping. From everyday Joes’ to celebrities like Katy Perry and Leonardo DiCaprio, vaping is the new way of smoking. It started as a healthier method of smoking, avoiding nasty chemicals in the paper used to roll joints. You see people vaping in music videos, social media, and pretty much everywhere. Depending on what device you use, vaping has been an easy and discrete way of smoking. But does it cause more harm than good? As the surge of vaping continues to flood the market, researchers have theorized that vaping can lead to other issues, like depression and anxiety. So, we investigated. Can vaping cause anxiety?
What is vaping?
Firstly, we need to define what vaping is. Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling vapor from an electronic cigarette or similar device. The first commercially successful e-cigarette was created in China back in 2003 and has joined the market ever since. Some devices look like sticks while others look more elaborate, but in summary, it’s a fancier way of smoking. “There’s no combustion and fewer harmful chemicals,” says Veronica Paz Booth, Director of Education an Item 9 Labs. “This vapor is free of burnt materials, cleaner, and a lower temperature than smoke.” The effects of consuming cannabis through vaping are always quicker. These effects appear either instantly or 30 minutes later and commonly last between 2 – 4 hours, depending on the individual. With these results, it’s no wonder people gravitate towards vaping.
How is it linked to anxiety?
But just like everything in life, with sweets, comes the sour. Recent studies show strong evidence for an association between smoking and the development or progression of different psychiatric disorders such as ADHD and Alzheimers’ disease/dementia. Although most studies have found these results in nicotine, researchers still caution users to understand the difference between nicotine and THC. “Some research has linked vaping to anxiety be due to the increased bioavailability of THC,” says Booth. “THC is known for its biphasic effects on anxiety, meaning that different doses will cause distinct effects. Outcomes will differ based on each person’s cannabis experience, age group, and other personal factors. And increased bioavailability means less product is needed to achieve the same effects. Those new to cannabis or who consume infrequently should note this and vape accordingly.”
What you need to know before vaping
When it comes to vape, there are pros and cons. As always make sure you purchase vape oils and pens from legal cannabis dispensaries. Consult with a dispensary staff member for any questions and if you want to be extra sure, ask for the product’s certificate of analysis (COA) for contaminants and cannabinoid profiles. “Accessing the COA is especially important for those who vape CBD, THC, or reside in states where cannabis is illegal since there is little-to-no regulation in these cases.” Understand that every individual is different and will require different dosages. Vaping has also been linked to other issues like bronchitis, shortness of breath, cough, and excess mucus.
Regardless of whether you are pro or against it, vaping is here to stay. According to the New York Times, the FDA authorized the first e-cigarette to enter the U.S. market for the first time in American history. This new wave will no doubt open doors for other e-cig companies to go mainstream. However, in the end, vaping is a personal choice. Just make sure you do your research and consult with your physician on different alternatives to use cannabis.