Rapid Increase in the Prevalence of Cannabis Use Among People with Depression in the United States, 2005–17: The Role of Differentially Changing Risk Perceptions

Abstract

Aims

To estimate trends in the prevalence of cannabis use and risk perceptions of cannabis use from 2005 to 2017 among United States people 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 people 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, 2005–17 public use data files.

Participants

A total of 728 691 people aged ≥ 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 versus 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 people with and without depression from 2005 to 2017, yet the increase in any (aORs = 1.06 versus 1.05; P = 0.008) and daily (aORs = 1.10 versus 1.07; P = 0.021) cannabis use adjusted for socio‐demographic 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 people with depression, compared with those without (aORs = 0.89 versus 0.92; P < 0.001).

Conclusions

The prevalence of cannabis use in the United States increased from 2005 to 2017 among people with and without depression and was approximately twice as common among those with depression. People 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.

Citation
Pacek, L. R., Weinberger, A. H., Zhu, J., & Goodwin, R. D. (2019). Rapid increase in the prevalence of cannabis use among persons with depression in the US, 2005‐2017: the role of differentially changing risk perceptions. Addiction.
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