Trends in cannabis use disorders among racial/ethnic population groups in the United States

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Aug 1;165:181-90. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.06.002. Epub 2016 Jun 8.


Background: Minority groups generally experience more disparities than whites in behavioral healthcare use. The population of racial/ethnic groups is growing faster than whites. Given increased concerns of cannabis use (CU) and its associations with health conditions, we examined national trends in cannabis use disorder (CUD) among adults aged ≥18 by race/ethnicity.

Methods: Data were from the 2005-2013 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (N=340,456). We compared CU patterns and the conditional prevalence of CUD among cannabis users by race/ethnicity to understand racial/ethnic variations in CUD.

Results: Approximately 1.5% of adults met criteria for a CUD in the past year. Regardless of survey year, cannabis dependence was more common than cannabis abuse, representing 66% of adults with a CUD. Across racial/ethnic groups, the prevalence of cannabis abuse and dependence remained stable during 2005-2013. In the total adult sample, the odds of weekly CU, monthly CU, and cannabis dependence were greater among blacks, native-Americans, and mixed-race adults than whites. Among cannabis users, the odds of cannabis abuse and dependence were greater among blacks, native-Americans, and Hispanics than whites. Logistic regression controlling for age, sex, education, and survey year indicated an increased trend in monthly CU and weekly CU in the total sample and among past-year cannabis users. Younger age, male sex, and low education were associated with increased odds of cannabis dependence.

Conclusions: The large sample provides robust information that indicates a need for research to monitor CUD and identify culturally appropriate interventions especially for targeting minority populations.

Keywords: Asian American; Black; Cannabis use disorder; Hispanic; Mixed race; Native American.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Continental Population Groups / ethnology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual / trends*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / diagnosis
  • Marijuana Abuse / ethnology*
  • Marijuana Smoking / ethnology*
  • Marijuana Smoking / trends*
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance* / methods
  • United States / ethnology
  • Young Adult