Psychological Distress and Cannabis Vaping Among U.S. Adolescents

Delvon T. Mattingly, Osayande Agbonlahor, Joy L. Hart, Alison C. McLeish, Kandi L. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Cannabis vaping has become increasingly popular among adolescents in recent years. However, research examining mental health determinants of cannabis vaping is scant. This study investigated the relationship between psychological distress and cannabis vaping among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents. Methods: Data are from the cross-sectional 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, restricted to adolescents ages 11–18 (n=22,202). Psychological distress was categorized as normal, mild, moderate, and severe according to the Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression and Anxiety-4. Cannabis vaping was defined as any use in the past 30 days. To estimate the association between psychological distress and cannabis vaping, logistic regression was performed adjusted for age, biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, school grades, family smoking/vaping, nicotine vaping, other tobacco use, and blunt use. Analyses were conducted in 2023. Results: Nearly 8% of adolescents vaped cannabis in the past 30 days, and 25.6% reported moderate or severe psychological distress. Mild, moderate, and severe psychological distress were associated with cannabis vaping in the unadjusted model. In the adjusted model, the odds of cannabis vaping were higher among adolescents who had severe psychological distress (OR: 1.46, 95% CI: 1.09–1.96), compared to adolescents with no distress. Older age, poor grades, family smoking/vaping, nicotine vaping, other tobacco use, and blunt use were also associated with cannabis vaping. Conclusions: Severe psychological distress was associated with past 30-day cannabis vaping among U.S. adolescents. Adolescents experiencing psychological distress need to be screened for cannabis vaping to help prevent and reduce use and promote mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-539
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Journal of Preventive Medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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