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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Cannabis use disorders are comparatively prevalent among nonwhite racial/ethnic groups and adolescents: a national study

Li-Tzy Wu, Kathleen T Brady, Paolo Mannelli, Therese K Killeen
Journal of Psychiatric Research 2014, 50: 26-35
24342767
The racial/ethnic composition of the US population is shifting, with the nonwhite population growing faster than whites. We examined cannabis use disorder (CUD) prevalences and correlates in seven racial/ethnic groups. We included cannabis use (CU) prevalence as a comparison. Data were from the 2005-2011 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (N = 394,400). Substance use among respondents aged ≥12 years was assessed by computer-assisted, self-interviewing methods. The following were included as control variables: age, sex, family income, government assistance, county type, residential stability, major depressive episode history, arrest history, nicotine dependence, alcohol disorder, and survey year. Past-year CU prevalence increased significantly from 10.45% in 2005 to 11.41-11.54% during 2009-2011. Compared with whites, mixed-race individuals had higher odds of CU; Asian Americans and Hispanics had lower odds of CU. There were no significant yearly changes in CUD prevalence in the sample during 2005-2011 (1.58-1.73%). Compared with whites, individuals who were mixed-race, black, and Native American had higher odds of CUD; Asian Americans had lower odds. In aggregate, 15.35% of past-year cannabis users met criteria for a CUD in the 12-month period. Past-year cannabis users who were black, Native American, Hispanic, or Asian American had higher odds of CUD than white users. In each racial/ethnic group, adolescent cannabis users generally showed greater odds of CUD than adult users. Behavioral health indicators (major depressive episode, arrest history, nicotine dependence, alcohol disorder) were associated with CU and CUD. In conclusion, CUD disproportionally affects nonwhite groups and youth.

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