Summary: Cannabis use in those with depression has almost doubled since 2017, a new study reports.
The prevalence of cannabis, or marijuana, use in the United States increased from 2005 to 2017 among persons with and without depression and was approximately twice as common among those with depression in 2017. The findings, which are published in Addiction, come from a survey-based study of 728,691 persons aged 12 years or older.
“Perception of great risk associated with regular cannabis use was significantly lower among those with depression in 2017, compared with those without depression, and from 2005 to 2017 the perception of risk declined more rapidly among those with depression. At the same time, the rate of increase in cannabis use has increased more rapidly among those with depression,” said corresponding author Renee Goodwin, PhD, MPH, of Columbia University and The City University of New York.
The prevalence of past 30-day cannabis use among those with depression who perceived no risk associated with regular cannabis use was much higher than that among those who perceived significant risk associated with use (38.6% versus 1.6%, respectively).
Certain groups appeared more vulnerable to use. For instance, nearly one third of young adults (29.7%) aged 18-25 with depression reported past 30-day use.
In 2017, the prevalence of past month cannabis use was 18.9% among those with depression and 8.7% among those without depression. Daily cannabis use was common among 6.7% of those with depression and among 2.9% of those without.
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Rapid increase in the prevalence of cannabis use among persons with depression in the U.S., 2005‐2017: the role of differentially changing risk perceptions Aims To estimate trends in the prevalence of cannabis use and risk perceptions of cannabis use from 2005‐2017 among United States (U.S.) persons with and without depression.
Design Linear time trends of the prevalence of any, daily, and non‐daily past‐30‐day cannabis use and perceived great risk associated with regular cannabis use (outcome variables) among persons with and without past‐year depression were assessed using logistic regression with survey year as the predictor. All analyses were adjusted for gender, age, race/ethnicity, and income; models assessing time trends of cannabis use prevalence were also adjusted for perceived risk.
Setting The United States: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual cross‐sectional survey, 2005‐2017 public use data files.
Participants 728,691 persons age ≥12 years.
Measurements Self‐report of any, daily, and non‐daily past‐30‐day cannabis use and perceived great risk associated with regular cannabis use.
Findings The prevalence of any, daily, and non‐daily cannabis use in the past month was higher among those with depression versus those without (e.g., 2017 for any use: 18.94% vs. 8.67%; adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.17 (95% confidence interval (CI)=1.92, 2.45)). Any, daily, and non‐daily cannabis use increased among persons with and without depression from 2005‐2017, yet the increase in any (aORs=1.06 vs. 1.05; p=0.008) and daily (aORs=1.10 vs. 1.07; p=0.021) cannabis use adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics was more rapid among those with depression. Perception of great risk associated with regular cannabis use was significantly lower among those with depression (p<0.001) and decreased significantly more rapidly over the study period among persons with depression, compared with those without (aORs=0.89 vs. 0.92; p<0.001).
Conclusions The prevalence of cannabis use in the U.S. increased from 2005 to 2017 among persons with and without depression and was approximately twice as common among those with depression. Persons with depression experienced a more rapid decrease in perception of risk, which may be related to the more rapid increase in any and daily past‐month cannabis use in this group.