Teens getting high on e-cigarettes with hash oil

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by Karen Hopkins, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 6, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 6 at 7:54 PM

PORTSMOUTH -- Loading marijuana chemicals into electronic cigarettes is a new way teenagers are getting a more powerful high, according to doctors in Hampton Roads.

Hash oil extracted from the marijuana plant is exploding in popularity because it can be 60 to 80 percent more potent than smoking pot.  

"That obviously presents some concerns for parents, for families that are wondering if their child or young adult in the house is smoking pot or if they are just smoking the e-cigarette," Dr. Brian Rubenstein of Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center said.

Parents aren't able to tell if their kids are using hash oil in an electronic cigarette by just looking at it.  Unlike the smell of smoking pot, Rubenstein said the oil inside the e-cigarette doesn't give off any odor at all. 

"It adds a whole different level of difficulty for concerned parents trying to find out if their children are using something illegal," Rubenstein said. 

In Portsmouth, doctors have seen high school students use this new marijuana method.

"We've actually seen patients in the ER that have admitted to using hash oil to get high locally," Rubenstein said. 

Authorities say some people are trying to make hash oil at home and it’s dangerous. They say the butane they are using can catch fire and explode.

In Colorado, investigators have seen an increase in home and warehouse explosions, where people are trying to make hash oil. They've responded to 31 cases in 2014 alone. 

"Now that recreation is legal, we are seeing more production of marijuana extraction," Brian Lucas of Denver fire said.

Doctors also warn that because the chemicals in each batch of oil can differ, it's hard to know how the drug could affect your health.

Hash oil can sell for up to $60 per gram.

State by state e-cigarette laws
 

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