The California Highway Patrol is warning parents and teachers to look out for a new drug trend among teens: converting e-cigarettes to use with THC oil, the active ingredient in marijuana.
CHP public information officer Daniel Hill told KTVU the department uses social media and YouTube to keep up with rapidly changing drug trends.
“Kids at school are able to use these vaporizers relatively undetected in the classroom,” said Hill.
That’s because, like standard e-cigarettes, the converted e-cigs are odorless and smokeless.
The Patient ID Center in Oakland caters to medical marijuana card holders. They carry an array of vaporizers, which are similar to e-cigarettes and deliver the drug in the same way.
“You could be in somebody’s house that’s using this in one room and not know that they’ve used it.” said Patient ID Center Executive Director Jeff Jones.
He likened smoking a joint to drinking a beer, and using a vaporizer or e-cig to throwing back shots. It’s more powerful. While that may be okay for medical marijuana card-carrying adults, Jones says it could lead to serious trouble for kids.
“I would see it as a risk if they used it without any type of supervision,” said Jones. “They could have problems of using too much.”
At DeAnza High School in Richmond, students are under the watchful eyes of security guards, cameras, and staff.
“We’re actively on the internet trying to do our research to stay ahead, if that’s possible. Because if it’s on the internet, we’re behind,” said Adam Taylor of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
Taylor says DeAnza’s student handbook will have to be changed next year to reflect new drug trends like e-cigarettes and THC oil. The CHP says the most important thing is for parents to be aware of what kids are doing and have an open and honest conversation with them about drug use.