How do high school seniors get marijuana? Prevalence and sociodemographic differences

Anna C Wagner, Michael J. Parks, Megan E Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Efforts to understand how adolescents acquire marijuana will help to contextualize its use among youth. Little is known about ways of getting marijuana and how they differ between subgroups of adolescents. The present study sought to determine how adolescents get marijuana and if modes of access vary by sociodemographic characteristics. Method: Data were from the nationally representative Monitoring the Future study of 12th graders in the United States from 2012 to 2018 (N = 4262 students). Participants used marijuana in the past 12 months and were asked how they got marijuana. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to predict modes of getting marijuana based on sex, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, parental education, and survey year. Cross-tabulation analyses compared how recent frequent and non-frequent use related to ways of getting marijuana. Results: The most endorsed methods of getting marijuana were given for free by friends, bought from friends, and bought from a drug dealer/stranger. Differences by sociodemographic subgroup and recent frequent use emerged, including for riskier modes of obtainment such as buying from a drug dealer/stranger (for male students, urban students, and recent frequent users). Recent frequent users were more likely to endorse getting marijuana by nearly each method, except non-frequent users were more likely to be given marijuana for free by friends. Discussion: Understanding the prevalence of different modes of getting marijuana among adolescents and which subgroups are most susceptible to riskier means of getting marijuana will allow drug use prevention efforts to be tailored appropriately so as to maximize effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106730
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by NIDA Grant R01- DA001411. NIDA had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adolescent
  • Drug dealer
  • Friend
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription
  • Prevalence


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