Marijuana billboards, storefront ads influence cannabis use in teens, study shows

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Teens who regularly encounter ads for marijuana on billboards or in storefronts are more prone to use the substance on a regular basis, according to a recent study. What’s more, scientists say the youngsters are more likely to develop signs of cannabis use disorder.,

Even though cannabis use is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 in states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana, the study authors, led by Dr. Pamela J. Trangenstein, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, write that “legalization may alter the ways that youth use cannabis.”

Trangenstein and colleagues point out that a rising majority of states have already legalized or are contemplating the legalization of recreational marijuana. Additionally, public anxiety about the dangers of cannabis usage has decreased over the last few years. However, the evidence tends to link cannabis usage to harmful consequences. neuropsychiatric diseases, car accidents, and drug abuse problems are among them.

Moreover, cannabis consumption by teenagers may be more harmful than it is among adults. “As the 2019 Surgeon General’s Report warned, cannabinoid receptors are crucial for brain development, which is why cannabis use during adolescence carries special risk,” the scientists explains.

The team utilized advertising on social media platforms as well as apps to gather 172 teenagers for their study. The teens were aged 15 to 19 and resided in places where recreational cannabis was legal. Also, each participant had taken the substance at least once.

Participants were asked about their marijuana use as well as whether they had a favorite brand or type of marijuana including the type of rolling papers. They were also asked about their exposure to cannabis marketing, such as whether they had seen ad campaigns on banners and retail stores as well as Facebook and Instagram. Participants also answered whether they purchased or were inclined to buy cannabis-branded apparel (e.g., hats, sunglasses, or t-shirts with marijuana logos or symbols). 

Those who indicated they saw posters or shop advertising “most of the time” or “always” had seven times the probability of habitual cannabis usage ,and almost six times the probability of experiencing symptoms of cannabis use disorder relative to those who claimed they had never seen ads. When compared to individuals who did not have a favored brand, having a preferred brand was associated with three times the probability of recurrent use as well as characteristics of cannabis use disorder. Furthermore, individuals who possessed or were likely to purchase cannabis-branded products were 23 times more likely to use it regularly than others who neither owned nor intended to buy such paraphernalia.

Surprisingly, teenagers who saw cannabis advertising on Instagram only on occasion were 85% less likely to consume marijuana regularly than those who had not seen such ads. Those who viewed them on a regular basis were 93% less likely to utilize them on a regular basis. Researchers believe that teenagers might be seeing more consumer material on Instagram than on Facebook to explain these surprising results. Furthermore, Instagram’s image-heavy design may lack written explanations that adolescents require to comprehend new items.

The researchers point out that, while marijuana marketing research is still in its early stages, analyses on tobacco and alcohol marketing show that “associations between ads and use may not stop at experimentation—ad exposure may facilitate progression toward problematic use, and their association may even be causal.”

According to the experts, when states legalize recreational marijuana use for adults, the impact on kids should not be overlooked. “[S]tates and other localities with legalized cannabis should exercise special caution regarding forms of marketing that promote brand identification and engagement with youth,” concludes Trangenstein and colleagues.

This study is published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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  1. Cannabis consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

    Regarding “The Children”,

    Let’s not use “The Children” as an excuse to prohibit and criminalize adult use of a natural plant far less dangerous than perfectly legal alcohol because nobody condones child use, and this is about allowing adults only to choose cannabis.

    It’s our responsibility as parents by to educate our children on drug use. It’s not the government’s job to force Draconian cannabis Laws upon every adult citizen under the guise of protecting “The Children”.

    What message are we sending our children when it is easier for them to obtain cannabis now with it being illegal than it is for them to buy alcohol?

    It doesn’t take the intellect of a genius to understand that stores card kids for I.D. Thugs and gang members do not. They also push the real hard drugs on children. Stores do not.

    Cannabis legalization will make it harder for children to obtain it.

    What message does it send our children when several of the Presidents of The United States themselves alongside a long list of successful people openly admit regular pot use at one time or another in their lives?

    While we tell our kids how it will ruin their futures, and then ensure so, by allowing our government to to jail our children and give them permanent criminal records when they get caught with a little cannabis. Especially, if they are the wrong skin color or from the “wrong neighborhood”. Which in turn, ruins their chances of employment for life.

    The Prohibition of cannabis is the wrong message to send our children while we glorify, advertise and promote the much more dangerous use of alcohol like it’s an all American pastime.

    The worst thing about cannabis and our children is what happens to them when they get caught up in the criminal justice system due to it’s prohibition.

    Protect “The Children” and Our Neighborhoods Through The Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis Nationwide!

    1. Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

      The prohibition of cannabis has not decreased the supply nor the demand for cannabis at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

      If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

      Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize cannabis when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

      Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Cannabis Laws.

      1. There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize cannabis nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

        The prohibitionist view on cannabis is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

        Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

        Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of cannabis prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

        With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a cannabis prohibitionist to do?

        Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

        Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Cannabis Legalization Efforts!

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