Background: In the context of cannabis legalization in Canada, we examined the effects on cannabis patterns of consumption, including cannabis use, daily cannabis use and cannabis-related problems. In addition, we examined differential effects of cannabis legalization by age and sex.
Methods: A pre-post design was operationalized by combining 19 iterations of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Monitor Surveys (N = 52,260; 2001-2019): repeated, population-based, cross-sectional surveys of adults in Ontario. Participants provided self-reports of cannabis use (past 12 months), daily cannabis use (past 12 months) and cannabis-related problems though telephone interviews. The effects of cannabis legalization on cannabis patterns of consumption were examined using logistic regression analyses, with testing of two-way interactions to determine differential effects by age and sex.
Results: Cannabis use prevalence increased from 11 % to 26 % (p < 0.0001), daily cannabis use prevalence increased from 1 % to 6 % (p < 0.0001) and cannabis-related problems prevalence increased from 6 % to 14 % (p < 0.0001) between 2001 and 2019. Cannabis legalization was associated with an increased likelihood of cannabis use (OR, 95 % CI: 1.62, 1.40-1.86), daily cannabis use (1.59, 1.21-2.07) and cannabis-related problems (1.53, 1.20-1.95). For cannabis-related problems, a significant two-way interaction was observed between cannabis legalization and age (p = 0.0001), suggesting differential effects among adults ≥55 years.
Conclusions: Cannabis legalization was associated with an increased likelihood of cannabis use, daily cannabis use and cannabis-related problems. Given increases in these cannabis patterns of consumption, broader dissemination and uptake of targeted prevention tools is indicated.
Keywords: Adult; Canada; Cannabis; Marijuana Smoking; Marijuana Use; Policy.
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