Treatment for Cannabis Use Disorder Has Decreased Since 2004

For people with CUD in 2004 to 2014, specialty treatment decreased in states with medical cannabis laws with dispensary provisions
Treatment for Cannabis Use Disorder Has Decreased Since 2004
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TUESDAY, Feb. 27, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment for cannabis use disorder (CUD) decreased since 2004, especially in states with medical cannabis dispensary provisions, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Pia M. Mauro, Ph.D., from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, and colleagues examined the associations between cannabis laws becoming effective and self-reported CUD treatment using 2004 to 2019 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. The associations between medical cannabis laws (MCL) with and without cannabis dispensary provisions and specialty CUD treatment were examined.

The researchers found that compared with before MCL, specialty CUD treatment prevalence decreased by 1.35 and 2.15 points, respectively, after MCL without dispensaries and after MCL with dispensaries provisions became effective, using a broad treatment need sample definition in 2004 to 2014. Specialty treatment decreased only in MCL states with dispensary provisions among people with CUD in 2004 to 2014 (adjusted prevalence difference, –0.91). In 2015 to 2019, MCL were not associated with CUD treatment use. Among people classified as needing CUD treatment, but not among those with past-year CUD, recreational cannabis laws were associated with lower CUD treatment.

"Because cannabis use disorder treatment was so low across states, we note the urgency for targeting efforts in support of people with CUD, particularly in states with cannabis dispensaries," Mauro said in a statement. "The findings also suggest the need for public education about the likelihood and symptoms of CUD, as well as need for treatment when clinically indicated, in the context of changing cannabis legal status."

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