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Marijuana Concentrates May Increase Likelihood of Teen Marijuana Addiction

Doctor researching the strength of marijuana concentrates  

Teen marijuana use is common, with around 38% of all high school students reporting using the drug. However, many teens are switching to more potent, concentrated versions of marijuana. Also known as “dabbing,” teens smoke marijuana concentrates that look honey-like or buttery in appearance.

A new study finds that a large number of teens are using concentrated forms of marijuana instead of the marijuana plant. Because of the high amount of THC in concentrated marijuana, teens are becoming more likely to develop an addiction to the drug.

Study Finds 24% of Teens Have Tried Marijuana Concentrate

According to a recent study of 47,142 high schoolers, 33% reported using marijuana and 24% reported using concentrated marijuana. The study also found that teens who used concentrates were more likely to use other drugs and have higher risks for substance use problems.

The Dangers of Dabbing

These concentrated substances are butane hash oil, which is created by forcing butane gas through a tube filled with marijuana. After the butane evaporates, the waxy concentrated substance remains and can be smoked. However, butane gas is highly flammable, and explosions are a possibility when creating butane hash oil.

There is little research available about the effects of concentrated marijuana use. However, some studies have looked into what occurs when high amounts of THC are consumed. These effects include a higher likelihood of:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Accidents
  • Falls

Teen Marijuana Concentrate Users May Have a Higher Risk of Addiction

Marijuana typically contains around 12% THC, the chemical that causes marijuana’s psychoactive effects. Concentrated marijuana contains around 50% THC on average, and some contain more than 80%. High levels of THC can cause addiction, so concentrated marijuana use in teens creates an increased risk for substance use disorders. In addition, people can build a tolerance to THC, which often leads to withdrawal symptoms when ending use.

Teen vaping rates are high, with 37.3% of teens reporting vaping in 2018. Concentrated marijuana can easily be placed in vaping devices and used, which can make it easier to hide when compared to other types of drug paraphernalia. As a result, parents are often unaware of their children’s drug use.

Parents Likely Unaware of Teen Drug Use

Because of how easily teens can hide wax vape pens and concentrated marijuana oil, parents may not know when their teen is using drugs. Concentrated oil is often odorless, while marijuana plants are much easier to detect. Since more teens are now using concentrated forms of marijuana, it is important for parents to research these drugs and how they’re used.

If you believe your teen is experiencing a marijuana use disorder, Next Generation Village can help. Our teen-focused facilities can help your child recover from substance use problems and co-occurring mental health disorders. Contact us today to learn more about programs that can work well for your situation.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “What You Need to Know About Marijuana Use in Teens.” April 13, 2017. Accessed October 6, 2019.

Meier, Madeline; et al. “Cannabis Concentrate Use in Adolescents.” Pediatrics, June 6, 2019. Accessed October 6, 2019.

Stogner, John; et al. “Assessing the Dangers of “Dabbing”: Mere Marijuana or Harmful New Trend?” Pediatrics, July 2015. Accessed October 6, 2019.

National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. “Is Dabbing Dangerous?” December 14, 2015. Accessed October 6, 2019.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Marijuana.” September 2019. Accessed October 6, 2019.

National Institutes of Health. “Teens using vaping devices in record numbers.” December 17, 2018. Accessed October 6, 2019.

Just Think Twice. “The Facts About Marijuana Concentrates.” Accessed October 6, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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