Marijuana use in the U.S. doubled between 2001 and 2013, largely due to increases in legalization laws. Little attention, however, is given to the type of marijuana user (e.g., recreational or medical), particularly with health outcomes. Our study used data from the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (N=5,349) to examine physical health, mental health, and demographic variables by marijuana user type (including non-marijuana users). In physical health, the non-marijuana group was generally healthier, getting the most sleep, lowest BMI, and lowest alcoholic consumption. Medical users self-reported the poorest physical health, BMI, and sleep. Similar results were found in the mental health category between non-marijuana and medical users. Future longitudinal research is needed to investigate whether medical users, over time, increase their marijuana use to include recreational use (i.e., become mixed users) as a method of coping with the combination of health, emotional, and quality of life problems. Although this is among the first nationally representative studies to examine unique marijuana user groups, future studies should track user groups over time to understand the implications of transitioning into medical or recreational user groups.
Giano, Z. D., Becnel, J. N., Williams, A. L., & Martinez, D. C. (2020). Medical, Recreational, and Mixed Marijuana Users: An Examination of Physical and Mental Health Correlates. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 8(3), 11. https://scholarsjunction.msstate.edu/jhse/vol8/iss3/11
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