According to a new study, the number of people diagnosed with cannabis use disorder (CUD) is not increasing. The results contradict the expectation of public health experts who thought that due to the legalization of marijuana, more people would consume more and more weed. The incidence of CUD is decreasing, and this could be attributed to the growing number of states that have made marijuana legal.
According to the report, between the years 2002 and 2016, the frequency of CUD decreased significantly across people of all ages. The decrease in cannabis dependence was noticed in adolescents, and young adults and stability in the use of marijuana were noted amongst adults aged 26 years and above who reported daily or almost daily consumption.
Recent studies on the use and misuse of marijuana had mixed results on the frequency of CUD in the last 20 years. This is because people who tend to use marijuana daily or almost daily are at the most risk for CUD. The researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health decided to study this group of consumers to get a better understanding of their general health.
Last month, the journal on Drug and Alcohol Dependence published the study findings.
The researchers used data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health for the years 2002 to 2016. This included 22,651 participants aged 12 years and above who reported having used weed at least 300 days within the past year.
The study authors used the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, to measure problematic marijuana use for marijuana dependence and marijuana abuse. These include:
- The time spent in a month procuring, consuming, and getting over the effects of weed.
- Inability to stick to the set consumption limits
- Failure to reduce the amount and the number of times of cannabis consumption.
- The failure to fulfill significant responsibilities due to the frequent use of weed. And,
- The continued use of cannabis even though you are faced with persistent, or interpersonal problems.
The study authors considered other factors such as the perceived need for mental health treatment among the participants, and whether the health provider indicated other health issues. They were also asked if they have participated in impaired driving from illicit drugs with or without alcohol.
During the study, the authors found that the rate of CUD decreased across all age groups. For those between the age of 12 to 17 years the reduction was26.8%; 18 to 25 years by 29.7%, and adults older than 26 years by 37.5%.
The study also noted that there was a reduction in the frequency of DSM-IV weed abuse across all age groups; adolescents, young adults, and adults for those with past-year daily/almost daily marijuana consumption. They also noted a decrease in the frequency of DSM-IV marijuana dependence in adolescents and young adults.
The researchers attribute the decrease in CUD prevalence to the increased legalization of marijuana, whereby 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, and ten states have legalized recreational marijuana, said one of the study authors, Silvia Martins, in a statement. Legalization has contributed to the reduction of marijuana stigma and the perception of problems associated with the consumption of cannabis. It has also improved the changes in social attitudes since consumers no longer quarrel with relatives and friends about marijuana usage.
Industry watchers are of the view that the findings of this study vindicate the cannabis industry, including companies like Willow Biosciences Inc. (CSE: WLLW) and Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) that would never participate in an industry that wilfully gets people hooked on a substance.
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