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Legalized recreational marijuana may increase risk for cannabis use disorder

By: Lydia L. Kim, Digital Content Editor

A recent study from JAMA Psychiatry examines this question: Has legalization of recreational marijuana in the United States affected the rates of cannabis use disorder (CUD)?

The research was conducted through a repeated, cross-sectional, self-reported survey (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) on more than 500K participants in three age brackets (from 2008 to 2016): 12 to 17, 18 to 25, and 26+ years old.

The results revealed that both the 12to 17 and 26+ age brackets saw an increase in the participants’ use of cannabis (2.18% to 2.72% and 2.13% and 2.62%, respectively). In addition, the 26+ age group reported an increase from 0.9% to 1.23% of the incidence of CUD. The survey did not reveal any associations in the 18-to-25-year-old bracket.

Ultimately, this study suggests that a connection between the increase of CUD incidence and the legalization of recreational marijuana may exist. The results are intended to raise awareness of this potential connection in the public, and indicates that further research is needed.

Please read more about the study here.


The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. This has not been peer reviewed.

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