Cannabis use and cannabis use disorder are more prevalent in U.S. states with medical marijuana laws (MMLs), as well as among individuals with elevated psychological distress. We investigated whether adults with moderate and serious psychological distress experienced greater levels of cannabis use and/or disorder in states with MMLs compared to states without MMLs.
National Survey of Drug Use and Health data (2013–2017) were used to compare past-month cannabis use, daily cannabis use, and cannabis use disorder prevalence among adults with moderate and serious psychological distress in states with versus without MMLs. We executed pooled multivariable logistic regression analyses to test main effects of distress, MMLs and their interaction, after adjustment.
Compared to states without MMLs, states with MMLs had higher adjusted prevalence of past-month use (11.1 % vs. 6.8 %), daily use (4.0 % vs. 2.2 %), and disorder (1.7 % vs. 1.2 %). Adults with moderate and serious psychological distress had greater adjusted odds of any use (AORs of 1.72 and 2.22, respectively) and of disorder (AORs of 2.17 and 2.94, respectively), compared to those with no/mild distress. We did not find evidence of an interaction between MMLs and distress category for any outcome.
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