Exposure to Cannabis Marketing in Social and Traditional Media and Past-Year Use Among Adolescents in States With Legal Retail Cannabis

J Adolesc Health. 2020 Feb;66(2):247-254. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.08.024. Epub 2019 Nov 8.


Purpose: The objective of this study was to examine adolescents' self-reported exposure to cannabis marketing in states with legalized cannabis and its association with past-year cannabis use.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional, online panel survey of 469 adolescents aged 15-19 years residing in four states with legal retail cannabis for adult use. Adolescents self-reported exposure to cannabis marketing on social or traditional media (i.e., outdoor or print) and past-year cannabis use. Logistic regression generated estimated odds of youths' past-year cannabis use by marketing exposure after adjusting for demographic factors and cannabis-related social norms.

Results: Exposure to cannabis marketing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram was associated with increased odds of past-year cannabis use of 96% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 15%-234%), 88% (95% CI: 11%-219%), and 129% (95% CI: 32%-287%), respectively. Odds of past-year cannabis use increased by 48% (95% CI: 16%-87%) with each additional social media platform where adolescents reported exposure.

Conclusions: Despite restrictions that prohibit cannabis advertising on social media, adolescents are exposed to cannabis marketing via social media, and this exposure is associated with recent cannabis use. States should consider further regulation of cannabis marketing on social media.

Keywords: Adolescents; Cannabis; Marketing; Social media.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural