1 in 10 U.S. Teens Has Tried Hashish

1 in 10 U.S. Teens Has Tried Hashish

1 in 10 U.S. Teens Has Tried Hashish

Drug is more powerful cousin of marijuana, researchers say

SOURCE: New York University, news release, April 13, 2015

WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A new study identifies factors that increase teens' risk of using hashish, a more powerful cousin of marijuana.

"Nearly one out of 10 teens reported ever using hashish and it was used by a quarter of lifetime marijuana users," Joseph Palamar, a researcher affiliated with New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, said in a university news release. Palamar is also an assistant professor of population health at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Like marijuana, hashish can be smoked, vaporized or cooked into foods, the researchers explained. What's different is that hashish contains a greater concentration of THC, which is the most psychoactive component of marijuana and hashish. A marijuana cigarette has about 0.5 to 5 percent THC. But hashish contains between 2 and 20 percent, and sometimes as much as 50 percent, according to the study authors.

For the study, researchers analyzed data gathered from more than 10,500 high school seniors across the United States between 2007 and 2011.

The investigators found that the risk factors for regular marijuana use were often much stronger risk factors for using hashish.

"Another key finding was that other drug use was a robust risk factor for hashish use. 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," Palamar said.

Teen girls were at low risk for hashish use, but not for general marijuana use, a finding that supports previous research showing that females tend to be at lower risk for harder drugs than males.

"Interestingly, our research found that students using marijuana because they identified as being 'hooked' on it nearly doubled the odds for hashish use," Palamar said. "Since it is the more frequent marijuana users and those who feel they are hooked who are more likely to use hashish, in some instances hashish use can be used as an indicator of severity of marijuana use."

The study was published online recently in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. The study findings may help in efforts to prevent teen marijuana and hashish use, according to the researchers.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about marijuana.

Copyright © 2015 HealthDay. All rights reserved.