Emerging Trends in Cannabis Administration Among Adolescent Cannabis Users

Ashley Arehart Knapp*, Dustin C. Lee, Jacob T. Borodovsky, Samantha G. Auty, Joy Gabrielli, Alan J. Budney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Purpose: The legal landscape of cannabis availability and use in the United States is rapidly changing. As the heterogeneity of cannabis products and methods of use increases, more information is needed on how these changes affect use, especially in vulnerable populations such as youth. Methods: A national sample of adolescents aged 14–18 years (N = 2,630) were recruited online through advertisements displayed on Facebook and Instagram to complete a survey on cannabis. The survey assessed patterns of edible use, vaping, and smoking cannabis, and the associations among these administration routes and use of other substances. Results: The most frequent and consistent route of cannabis use was smoking (99% lifetime), with substantial numbers reporting vaping (44% lifetime) and edible use (61% lifetime). The majority of those who had experimented with multiple routes of cannabis administration continued to prefer smoking, and the most common pattern of initiation was smoking, followed by edibles and then vaping. In addition to cannabis use, adolescents reported high rates of nicotine use and substantial use of other substances. Adolescents who used more cannabis administration routes tended to also report higher frequency of other substances tried. Conclusions: Additional work is needed to determine whether the observed adolescent cannabis administration patterns are similar across different samples and sampling methods as well as how these trends change over time with extended exposure to new products and methods. The combined knowledge gained via diverse sampling strategies will have important implications for the development of regulatory policy and prevention and intervention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-493
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Administration methods
  • Adolescent
  • Cannabis
  • Edibles
  • Marijuana
  • Nicotine
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco
  • Vaping
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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