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Report Released: Recent Trends in Adult Use of Marijuana

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The following article was modified from the original. To see the full article, including citations and to receive free CME, view it here in the September/October 2018 issue of  Rx for Prevention, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s online publication for practicing in LA County.

The Department of Public Health released a health brief, Recent Trends in Adult Use of Marijuana.

This report shows trends in self-reported marijuana use rates among adults in Los Angeles County ages 18 and older in the years leading up to the November 2016 passage of Proposition 64. This proposition led to the legalization of the cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana for adults in California. Data from the LA County Health Survey years 2005, 2011, and 2015 were analyzed.

The health brief, including the survey findings and a discussion of their implications, can be found on the LA County Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology website.

Key findings include:

  • Reported use of marijuana in the past year increased from 8.5% to 11.6% between 2011 and 2015. Increases were seen among both men and women and across all age groups and racial/ethnic groups.
  • In 2015, use was higher among men (15.8%) than women (7.6%) and decreased steadily with age, from 27.4% among 18-20 year-olds to 4.3% among those 65 years of age and older.
  • Overall, in 2015, marijuana use was lower among Latinos (9.5%) and Asians (5.5%) than among other racial/ethnic groups, but these differences were influenced by country of birth, with 19.7% of U.S. born Latinos and 13.2% of U.S. born Asians reporting past-year use.
  • Among U.S. born adults, marijuana use was high among those living below the federal poverty level (FPL). In 2015, 19.3% of U.S. born adults in households with incomes below 100% FPL reported using marijuana in the past year, including 15.6% of Latinos, 21.9% of African Americans, and 23.2% of whites.
  • Among persons who reported using marijuana in the past year, the percent who also reported having a medical marijuana ID card or doctor’s recommendation increased from 20.7% in 2011 to 32.6% in 2015.
  • Adult users were more likely than those who did not use marijuana to currently smoke cigarettes (25.1% vs 11.7%), have used an e-cigarette in the past month (10.1% vs 2.5%), and have reported binge drinking in the past month (38.7% vs. 12.9%).