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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Columbia: Medical Marijuana Laws Impact Marijuana Use Among Sexual Minorities Differently than Heterosexuals

Bisexual women had higher rates of past-year and daily marijuana use compared to heterosexual women, according to a study at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Gay/lesbian women were also more likely to report daily marijuana use and past year medical marijuana use (MU) than heterosexual women. This is the first study to explore the association between state-level medical marijuana laws and marijuana use and MU disorder  for lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals. The findings are in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“Our work builds on the IOM report highlighting the importance of conducting additional research on LGB populations across the life course,” said Dr. Morgan Philbin, assistant professor of sociomedical sciences.

The researchers analyzed data from 126,463 adults in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and tested the interaction between sexual identity and residence in a state with medical marijuana laws (MML).

Gay/lesbian women in MML states had higher daily/near-daily (300+ days/year) MU than gay/lesbian women in non-MML states while bisexual women in MML states had higher past-year use than bisexual women in non-MML states; lesbian/gay and bisexual women in MML states had higher medical MU than those in non-MML states.

“Daily/near-daily MU prevalence was seven times higher among bisexual women than heterosexual women and 2.3 times as high for bisexual men compared to heterosexual men,” noted Dr. Silvia Martins, associate professor of epidemiology.

Past-year MU was 10 percent for heterosexual women, 26 percent among gay/lesbian women and 40 percent for bisexual women. Daily use was lower among heterosexual women (1.5 percent ) compared to lesbians (6 percent ) and bisexual women (10 percent ). Similar patterns emerged for past-year marijuana use disorder.

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