Cannabis use disorders are on the decline in the United States, despite the growing popularity of cannabis, according to a new study from Columbia University. To determine the data, researchers from the renowned New York University used the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2002-2016 as a database.
Among them, 22,651 people said they used cannabis for more than 300 days in the last year. Problematic use patterns were identified using the DSM-IV criteria for cannabis abuse and / or dependence. According to DSM-IV, abuse occurs if at least one of the following substance use criteria is met in the 12 months preceding the survey:
- Significant problems in the household, family or school.
- Use of psychoactive substances in hazardous situations.
- Criminal prosecution for the use of psychoactive substances.
- Social and interpersonal problems.
Therefore, regular or long-term consumption is not considered a problem in itself if none of the above criteria is applied. The annual prevalence of cannabis use and each of the four aforementioned symptoms of abuse / dependence contributed to the results of a comprehensive survey format. It should be noted that in countries with legalization, “problem consumption” is automatically reduced, because there is no more criminal prosecution and fewer problems in the family.In the current study, researchers examined whether there was a change in consumption patterns in those who reported daily / near daily cannabis use. Contrary to the researchers’ expectations, problematic use is also declining among regular users, as measured by DSM-IV criteria in all age groups.
As for young regular consumers, during this period it fell by 26.8 percent. Among 18-25 year olds, almost a third show fewer problem consumption patterns than 14 years ago, and among people over 25, this figure is even 37.5 percent. Overall, the characteristics of abuse have also declined across all age groups. In this context, the researchers put forward the thesis that positive development is closely related to the regulatory efforts of those states in which cannabis is sold to adults under the control of the state. Incidentally, current numbers from Colorado support this thesis.