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American Journal on Addictions


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Background and Objective: Rates of cannabis use continue to increase with sexual minority women (SMW) reporting greater use than heterosexual women. Along with these increasing trends, the routes of administration (ROA) for cannabis are evolving. The current study examined associations between cannabis ROA and frequency of use, as well as differences across sexual identity (heterosexual vs. SMW).

Methods: Participants were 949 young adult (18–25 years old) women (29.8% SMW) who reported past month cannabis use and were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Number of cannabis use days and each ROA used (joint, pipe, blunt, bong, vape, edible, and ointment) in the past 30 days were measured. Analysis of covariance models examined if sexual identity moderated the association between each ROA and cannabis use frequency.

Results: Among the full sample, joints were the most common ROA (78.6%); cannabis vaping was the most common noncombustible ROA (25.9%). SMW were more likely than heterosexual women to use each ROA except for joints. SMW who used pipes or edibles reported greater cannabis use frequency, compared to those who did not; there were no differences in frequency of use across ROA for heterosexual women.

Discussion and Conclusions: SMW may use a greater variety of ROA, potentially increasing the harms associated with cannabis. Marketing strategies targeting the sexual minority community may increase the likelihood of using various cannabis ROA and subsequent use.

Scientific Significance: Findings further our knowledge about how young adult women are using cannabis, and highlight how ROA may contribute to the disparities observed among SMW.


© 2023 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Original Publication Citation

Ehlke, S. J., Fitzer, S. A., Shipley, J. L., & Braitman, A. L. (2023). Exploring the intersection of sexual identity and route of administration in relation to cannabis use among young adult females. American Journal on Addictions. Advance online publication.


0000-0001-7288-2418 (Ehlke)