Cannabis vaping among high school seniors in adult-use, medical, and prohibited legal contexts


Vaping cannabis among adolescents has been increasing. Monitoring the Future (MTF) indicated in 2019 that past-month cannabis vaping among 12th graders underwent the second-highest single-year jump ever tracked by MTF for any substance in its 45-year history. These increases in adolescents who vape cannabis do not parallel declining general adolescent cannabis use trends. Nevertheless, research on cannabis consumption via vaping, especially among adolescents, has been substantially limited.


We examined associations between legal contexts (prohibited, medical, and adult use) and vaping cannabis in the past year among high school seniors. In addition, associations between vaping cannabis and factors such as availability and acceptability were examined using secondary data from MTF (2020), with a sub-sample size of 556 participants (overall sample size: n = 3,770), using multivariate logistic regression models.


We found that high school seniors in medical states had higher odds of past-year vaping cannabis, but 12th graders in adult-use states were not significantly more likely to vape cannabis than those in prohibited states. Increased availability of vaping products and decreased risk perceptions in medical states may explain this relationship. Adolescents who perceived high risks associated with regular cannabis use had decreased odds of vaping cannabis. High school seniors reporting very easy access to cannabis cartridges had increased odds of vaping cannabis, regardless of legal context.


These results contribute knowledge about contextual factors related to adolescent cannabis vaping, a relatively new technique of cannabis consumption for which there is growing societal concern.


Acceptability; Adolescent; Adult-use; Availability; Cannabis; Drug policy; Legal context; Legalization; Marijuana; Risk perceptions; Vaping; youth.

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