Young Adult Medical Marijuana Patients: Health Histories and Motives for Marijuana Use
Methods: 301 young adults (aged 18 to 26) who currently use marijuana - 187 MMP and 114 NPU - were recruited in Los Angeles for a structured survey in 2014-15. Interview questions focused on self-reported health histories, marijuana use, and motives for marijuana use. MMP and NPU were contrasted along these dimensions using chi-square tests and t-tests.
Results: A significantly greater proportion of MMP had ever experienced health problems (chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression) and been prescribed medications for these problems compared to NPU. MMP also reported greater current mental distress, including anxiety and somatization. While both MMP and NPU initiated marijuana use at 15 years old, as adolescents, MMP used marijuana to self-treat for health conditions (help sleep, relieve physical pain, relieve depression) in significantly greater proportions than NPU. As current patients, a significantly greater proportion of MMP also used marijuana for similar health reasons, (sleep, pain, depression) compared to NPU.
Conclusions: Young adult MMP reported health conditions and patterns of marijuana use that are consistent with the intent of medical marijuana laws in California. Some NPU – based on self-reported health conditions - may also be legitimate candidates for medical marijuana recommendations in California.
Learning Areas:Public health or related public policy
Describe the differences between young adult medical marijuana patients and non-patient marijuana users in terms of overall health histories and motivations for marijuana use.
Keyword(s): Drug Abuse
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in sociology and am the principal investigator on this NIH-funded study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.