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Marijuana Use Common Among Adults With Medical Conditions

Prevalence of marijuana use decreases with increasing age

medical marijuana

FRIDAY, Sept. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Marijuana use is common among adults with medical conditions, especially younger people, according to a study published online Sept. 20 in JAMA Network Open.

Hongying Dai, Ph.D., from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and Kimber P. Richter, Ph.D., from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, used data from the 2016 and 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey (including 169,036 participants; 52 percent female) to understand the prevalence and patterns of marijuana use among adults with and without medical conditions.

The researchers found that adults with medical conditions (especially asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis, cancer, and depression) had higher odds of reporting current marijuana use than those without medical conditions (age 18 to 34 years, adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.8; age 35 to 54 years, aOR, 1.4; age ≥55 years, aOR, 1.6). The prevalence of current marijuana use among those with medical conditions decreased with increasing age, ranging from 25.2 percent for those aged 18 to 24 years to 2.4 percent for those ≥65 years. Findings were similar for daily marijuana use (11.2 and 0.9 percent, respectively). Adults with medical conditions were less likely to report using marijuana for recreational purposes compared with those without medical conditions (36.2 versus 57.7 percent).

"Clinicians should screen for marijuana use among patients, understand why and how patients are using marijuana, and work with patients to optimize outcomes and reduce marijuana-associated risks," the authors write.

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