Active cannabis marketing and adolescent past-year cannabis use

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Highlights

Roughly one in three youth engaged with cannabis promotions on social media.

Adolescents who engaged with cannabis promotions had 5x higher odds of cannabis use.

Reporting a favorite cannabis brand was strongly associated with cannabis use.

Future research should consider ways to restrict youth access to cannabis promotions.

Abstract

Methods

Data are from an online survey of 482 adolescents (aged 15-19 years) living in states with legalized retail cannabis. Youth were asked about their engagement with cannabis promotions, including whether they liked/followed cannabis businesses on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), had a favorite cannabis brand, or could see themselves owning/wearing a cannabis-branded product. Youth also self-reported cannabis use in the past year. We used logistic regression with a Bonferroni correction to compare the odds of cannabis use among youth with different levels of engagement with cannabis promotions and brands after controlling for demographics.

Results

After adjusting for several possible confounders, youth who liked or followed a cannabis business on at least one social media platform had 5 times higher odds of past-year cannabis use (aOR = 5.00, 95% CI: 2.47, 10.09, p < 0.001). Youth who thought it was likely that they would own or wear cannabis-branded merchandise (aOR = 6.93, 95% CI: 4.45, 10.78, p < 0.001) or who had a favorite cannabis brand (aOR = 7.98, 95% CI: 4.90, 13.00, p < 0.001) had nearly 8 times greater odds of past-year cannabis use.

Conclusion

Youth who engage with cannabis promotions and brands had higher odds of past-year cannabis use. Jurisdictions with retail cannabis may want to consider restrictions to limit youth engagement with cannabis promotions.

Keywords

Cannabis

Marijuana

Adolescence

Marketing

Social Media

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© 2019 Published by Elsevier B.V.

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