1st December 2021
By Roland Sebestyén

In a huge new study, researchers have revealed the age, gender, race and ethnicity groups that use cannabis the most.

Authors of the study titled “Sociodemographic Characteristics Associated With and Prevalence and Frequency of Cannabis Use Among Adults in the US” have found that higher-frequency cannabis use is more common among young and racial minority populations.

The researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco assessed data from 2016 to 2019. They identified a number of interesting links between frequent cannabis use and the status of the consumers.

According to the study, higher frequency use was associated with younger age (18-34), Black and Native American race, as well as with less education.

It is revealed now that married individuals and those that identify as Asian or Hispanic tended to have lower-frequency cannabis use.

So, who uses cannabis the most (frequently)?

We need to declare what frequent use means in the first place. For this study, the researchers categorised use by the number of days of cannabis use in the past 30 days.

They then listed respondents – all the 387,179 participants – by putting them in either the non-useinfrequent use (1-5 days), frequent use (6-29 days), or daily use categories.

The goal was clear: while cannabis use has grown significantly in the United States between 2002 and 2019 – from 10.4% to 18% –, not much was known about who uses the drug and how often.

What the researchers found was that cannabis use varied significantly depending on age, gender, race, marital status, education, employment, and income.

Overall, cannabis use – infrequent (6.4%), frequent (5.2%) and daily use (6.4%) – was more prevalent among the youngest age group. At the same time, of those in the oldest group (65+ years) only 1.3% claimed to be infrequent users, and as few as 0.9% admitted to being frequent users.

Men were more likely than women to be frequent users (3.6% vs 2%) and Black and Native American respondents reportedly used cannabis more frequently than those of White ethnicity.

The data suggested that income may also be a predictor in the frequency of cannabis consumption: Those with a higher annual salary reported using cannabis less frequently than those on lower incomes (<$25 000, 4.6%; $25 000-$74 999, 3.8%; ≥$75 000, 2.7%).

The authors concluded: “This study of BRFSS data from 21 US states and 2 territories found that higher-frequency cannabis use was concentrated among younger and male adults, as well as adults who identified as Black or Native American or were from communities with low socioeconomic status.

“The decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis were partly driven by social and racial justice concerns.

“Higher-frequency use among individuals in younger and racial minority populations is a cause for concern and may warrant attention from policymakers and public health officials.

“Furthermore, more attention may need to be paid to high-frequency use in the form of screening, risk stratification, and treatment given the known and emerging negative health effects of cannabis.”

Related Stories