Frequency of cannabis use and alcohol-associated adverse effects in a representative sample of U.S. adolescents and youth (2002–2014) a cross-sectional study
Journal of Cannabis Research
Background While the link between frequent cannabis use and alcohol use disorders is well documented, it is not clear whether alcohol drinkers who use cannabis less frequently are also vulnerable to alcohol use disorders. We estimate the association of frequency of past 12-months cannabis use with alcohol-associated adverse effects variables in the same time frame: alcohol dependence, heavy drinking, driving under alcohol influence, alcohol-related interpersonal problems, use after
... problems, alcohol-related risky behaviors, and alcohol-related legal problems. Methods We analyzed data from U.S. individuals aged 12 to 25 years who participated in annual, cross-sectional U.S. National Surveys on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2014. Logistic regression models were used to examine the association of cannabis use with six alcohol-associated adverse effects variables. Frequency of cannabis use served as the primary independent variable, and were divided into four categories: frequent use (21–30 days per month), less frequent use (1–20 days per month), no use over the past 12 months, and no lifetime cannabis use. Alcohol dependence and six alcohol-associated adverse effects variables served as our primary outcomes. Results The study included 465,090 respondents aged 12 to 25 years, among all past-year cannabis users, (47.5%) were less frequent (1–20 days/month) users. Less frequent cannabis use was highest among male, 15–25-year-olds, and non-Hispanic white 11.8, 84 and 10.6%, respectively. In adjusted models, past-year less frequent cannabis use (1–20 days/month) was significantly associated with past-year alcohol dependence (adjusted odds ratio aOR 5.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.5–6.4); heavy drinking in the past-year (aOR 3.41, 95% CI 3.2–3.5); alcohol-related interpersonal problems in the past-year (aOR 7.33, 95% CI 7.0–7.5); use after interpersonal problems (aOR 5.17, 95% CI 4.8–5.5); alcohol-related risky behaviors (aOR 7.29, 95% CI 7.0–7.5), and, driving under influence of alcohol (aOR 7.19, 95% CI 6.9–7.4). No cannabis use past-year were more likely to report alcohol dependence (aOR 2.81, 95% CI 2.6–3) compared with no lifetime cannabis use. Conclusion These findings indicated that within the general population, not only frequent cannabis user (21–30 days per month) but even less frequent cannabis use (1–20 days/month) was significantly associated with past-year alcohol dependence and alcohol-associated adverse effects than no lifetime cannabis use. These adverse alcohol-related outcomes associated with less frequent cannabis use, should be taken under careful consideration in alcohol use disorder treatment setting and policy planning.