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OSAM-o-Gram

Vaping of Marijuana Extracts More Common

Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network

August 2015

Since the rst reports of “marijuana vaping” in January 2011, vaporizing as a route of administration (ROA) for marijuana has been reported by respondents in every OSAM region. In fact, during the past two years, the majority of OSAM regions have reported vaporizing as a common ROA (see Table 1).

Table 1. Increase in Vaporizing as a ROA for Marijuana over Time as Reported by OSAM Focus Group Participants

Region

January 2011

June 2011

January 2012

June 2012

January 2013

June 2013

January 2014

June 2014

January 2015

Akron-Canton

Vaporize

Vaporize

Athens

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Cincinnati

Vaporize

Cleveland

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Columbus

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Dayton

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Toledo

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Youngstown

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

Vaporize

As of OSAM’s most recent report of January 2015, the majority of OSAM regions reported availability of marijuana concentrates and extracts (aka“butane honey oil,” “BHO,” “dabs,” “earwax,” “wax,”or“hash/hashish oil”), which are products derived from medicinal alchemy of marijuana (an extraction of tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, from high-grade marijuana leaves by heating it with butane and creating a brown, waxy, hard substance). These concentrated forms of the drug have been known to contain much higher THC levels. In fact, THC potency has been increasing over time in these marijuana oily by-products, as the U.S. De- partment of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported in its National Drug Threat Assessment Summary for 2014 (see Figure 1): “In the 1990s, the average THC content of hash oil, a type of marijuana concentrate, ranged from 13 to 16 percent; today the average THC content of hash oil is 52 percent; one recent sample tested at 82 percent” (page 27).

Six of OSAM’s eight regions (Akron-Canton, Athens, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown) reported increased availability of these marijuana products. Participants suggested that increased availability is due to ready access to tools for the extraction process and to devices for consuming the product, as well as an increase in know-how.

AClevelandparticipantexplained,“Youcanmakehomemadedabs.Youusebutane...thatishowyoumakeit.Theyhave...bu- tane and you put weed in this tube and then it, like, melts it down and then you have a waxy thing.” Participants commented: “I don’t think [quality of marijuana] can get much better than what it is right now since they came out with dabs or whatever; It’s like 95 percent THC; It triples, quadruples the e ect of the buzz.”

Participants from across OSAM regions reported that the most common route of administration for marijuana remains smoking; however, out of 10 marijuana users, participants estimated that one to ve users would vaporize marijuana con- centrates and extracts. A Cleveland participant explained, “Nowadays, it’s common to smoke dabs ....”

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