A new study has found US adults aged 35 and under are far more likely to frequently use cannabis than those aged 65 and over. 

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California San Francisco used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey program, with more than 380,000 respondents reporting on their cannabis use from 2016-2019.

Compared to the 65-plus category, the study found adults aged between 18 and 34 were four times as likely to frequently use cannabis, with those aged 35 to 64 twice as likely to do so.

It also found frequent cannabis use was more common among Black and Native American adults, non-college graduates, and those living in states with legalised recreational cannabis.

The anonymous survey used to gather the data, the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System, only added cannabis questions in 2016.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the large sample size, 90% of survey respondents were not cannabis users, roughly 3.7% used infrequently (one to five days per month) and only 2.8% said they were frequent users (six to 29 days a month).

The study also found men were 1.43 times as likely to be frequent users than women.

Respondents living in states with legal recreational cannabis were 2.8 times more likely to frequently use cannabis and the most common form of consumption was smoking, followed by vaping and edibles.

Despite the large sample size, the researchers warned the study may not be nationally representative of the US as cannabis data was only available for 21 states.

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Hannah Adler

Hannah is a communications professional and early-career researcher in the disciplines of health communication and health sociology. She is a PhD student at Griffith University currently writing a...

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