SPECIAL REPORT: Teens using E-Cigs to smoke marijuana

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. E-Cigarettes or vapor pens are now being used as a drug delivery device. Teens are replacing the nicotine the devices are designed to use with THC or hash oil. THC is the chemical in pot that gets users high.

"I've seen kids do it in class and stuff," says one Grand Junction teen.

This 17-year-old, who does not want to be identified, has experimented with what he calls 'trippy sticks', or E-Cigs filled with THC.

The traditional drug paraphernalia you grew up learning about is no longer what kids are reaching for. Today's devices mask the tell-tale smell of pot and they don't release any smoke.

Officials said more and more teens are jumping on the trendy technology and are taking their high everywhere, even school.

"They hide it in their sleeves and when they're walking down the hall or go in the bathroom and do it," says the teen.

Parents who think they're familiar with marijuana should think again.

E-Cigarettes and Vapor Pens are just one way the drug is evolving. These devices are meant to be used with nicotine oil or flavored liquid cartridges, but now teens are switching them out with THC based oil cartridges and it's nearly impossible to tell the difference without costly testing.

"That's one of the bigger issues I think you run into as a parent or as an educator or administrator or in law enforcement is how do you tell the difference what exactly are you dealing with," says Deputy Chad Williams with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.

Experts say this new method of getting high is even more dangerous for teens since it's more efficient and the user can get a high 10 times more potent and 10 times more dangerous. There's no method of dose control and more THC is put into the users system because none is lost to combustion like it is when consumed traditionally.

If you suspect your teen is using an E-Cig or vapor pen to get high on pot take it apart and check for residue.

"It'll cause a build up in the bottom of them so you'll see chunks it looks like dirt," says Sara Jones with Colorado E-Smokes.

When E-Cigs first appeared on the market they were advertised as a smoking cessation device and a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but the marketing now targets the younger more vulnerable generations and the industry has developed new ways to utilize the device.

"Better than an electronic cigarette in my opinion because it actually gets you high instead of smoking something that doesn't do nothing for you," says the teen.

Even with age restrictions on the new pot laws and an 18 or over limit for cigarettes, many websites sell E-Cigarettes without verifying age.

Grand Junction and Palisade Police Departments tell us they're on the lookout for this, but have yet to catch anyone using THC in their E-Cigs.


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