05 Oct Marijuana Use More Common Among Adults With Medical Conditions
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hongying (Daisy) Dai, PhD
Department of Biostatistics | College of Public Health
University of Nebraska Medical Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Although marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug at the Federal level, as of June 2019, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized one or more forms of marijuana; 11 states and the District of Columbia have approved both medical and recreational uses. Public opinion on marijuana has changed dramatically over the last two decades and support for legalization has doubled since 2010. However, very little is known about the prevalence and patterns of marijuana use among adults with medical conditions.
This study analyzed the 2016 and 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to report the prevalence and patterns of marijuana use among adults with self-reported medical conditions.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Here are several key findings:
- Adults with medical conditions had a significantly higher prevalence of current and daily marijuana use than those without medical conditions, especially among those with asthma, COPD, arthritis, cancer, and depression.
- Among those with medical conditions, the prevalence of marijuana use decreased with increasing age, ranging from 25.2% (aged 18-24) to 2.4% (aged 65+) for current marijuana use and from 11.2% to 0.9% for daily marijuana use.
- Adults with medical conditions were more likely than those without medical conditions to report using marijuana for medical reasons (45.5% vs. 21.8%) and less likely to report using marijuana for non-medical purposes (36.2% vs. 57.7%).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The prevalence of marijuana use is more common among adults with medical conditions. Notably, one in ten young adults with medical conditions reported using marijuana on a daily basis. Patients who are taking marijuana for a medical condition should be informed of evidence of efficacy and adverse effects for that condition. Those who are taking marijuana recreationally should also be informed of the adverse health effects and benefits of marijuana consumption.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future research should continue to study the long-term health effects of marijuana use among those with medical conditions.
This study found that adults with medical conditions have an increased risk of using marijuana, especially those with respiratory conditions, cancer, and depression. Continuous surveillance of marijuana use across all age groups is warranted.
I have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Dai H, Richter KP. A National Survey of Marijuana Use Among US Adults With Medical Conditions, 2016-2017. JAMA Netw Open. Published online September 20, 20192(9):e1911936. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.11936
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Last Updated on October 5, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD