New York, NY: The prevalence of so-called cannabis use disorder (CUD) among young people and adults has declined steadily since 2002, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Investigators at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health assessed trends in CUD among frequent cannabis consumers between the years 2002 and 2016.
Contrary to their hypothesis, authors reported, "From 2002-2016, the prevalence of CUD among people reporting daily/almost daily cannabis use decreased by 26.8 percent in adolescents, by 29.7 percent in ages 18-25, and by 37.5 percent in ages 26 [and older]." Reports of CUD among those reporting less frequent cannabis use also declined during this same period of time.
Authors speculated that changes in cultural attitudes surrounding cannabis, as well as changes in the legal status of cannabis in various jurisdictions, may be playing a role in the decline.
They concluded: "[W]e found evidence that among people reporting daily/almost daily cannabis use, there were important reductions in the prevalence of CUD from 2002 to 2016. ... Further research examining whether structural, socio-demographic, and other factors may be linked to reductions in CUD prevalence could shed light on the underlying mechanisms and inform efforts to reduce the risk of CUD among people who use cannabis."
Full text of the study, "Cannabis use disorder among people using cannabis daily/almost daily in the United States, 2002-2016," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.