PISCATAWAY, NJ, April 8, 2021 / PRNewswire / – According to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, teenagers who see frequent billboard or store advertisements for recreational cannabis are more likely to use the drug weekly and have symptoms of a cannabis use disorder.

Although it is illegal for those under the age of 21 to use it even in states that have approved recreational marijuana, “legalization may change the way adolescents use cannabis,” write the study’s authors, led by Pamela J. Trangenstein, Ph.D., MPH, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Seattle 2016 cannabis billboard (Photo credit: adrienblanc, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

More states have legalized recreational marijuana, and public concern about the risks of cannabis use has decreased in recent years, according to Trangenstein and colleagues. However, research continues to find that cannabis use is linked to negative outcomes, including neuropsychiatric disorders, car accidents, and substance use disorders.

And marijuana use among teenagers can be more problematic than among adults. “”[C]Annabinoid receptors are crucial for the development of the brain, which is why cannabis use in adolescence carries a particular risk, “the authors write.

For their research, investigators used ads on social media websites and apps to recruit 172 teenagers, ages 15-19, who lived in states with legal recreational marijuana and had used the drug at least once.

Participants answered questions about their marijuana use and exposure to its marketing. The latter involved displaying advertisements on billboards and shop windows, as well as on Instagram and Facebook if they owned or likely bought and reported cannabis branded goods (e.g., hats, sunglasses, or t-shirts with cannabis logos or other images) Favorite brand or variety of cannabis or related paraphernalia.

Compared to those who had never seen billboard or store advertisements, those who said they saw them “most of the time” or “always” were seven times as likely to have frequent cannabis use and almost six times as likely to have symptoms of a cannabis use disorder. Having a favorite brand was linked to three times the likelihood of frequent use and symptoms of cannabis use disorder compared to those who did not have a preferred brand.

In addition, those who owned or likely owned cannabis-branded goods were 23 times more likely to have frequent use than those who did not and did not plan to own such goods.

Unexpectedly, teenagers who saw cannabis ads on Instagram occasionally or frequently were 85% and 93% less likely to use marijuana, respectively, than those who had never seen such promotions.

Trangenstein and colleagues note that studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising, although research on cannabis marketing is newer, show that “associations between advertising and use may not stop with experimentation – exposure to advertising can facilitate the progression to problem use, and so do.” their association can even be causal. “

As states give adults access to recreational marijuana, the collateral effects for adolescents should not be ignored.

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Related images

Cannabis billboard
Cannabis billboard Seattle 2016 (Photo credit: adrienblanc, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

SOURCE Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs