Addiction. 2022 May 2. doi: 10.1111/add.15913. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalize and regulate the production and distribution of cannabis for recreational use. We measured whether Uruguay’s non-commercial model of recreational cannabis legalization was associated with changes in the prevalence of risky and frequent cannabis use among secondary school students.

DESIGN: We used data from repeated cross-sectional surveys of secondary students in Uruguay and Chile (2007-2018). Using a difference-in-difference approach, we evaluated changes in the prevalence of past-year, past-month, any risky and frequent cannabis use following enactment (2014) and implementation (2016) of cannabis legalization among the full sample of secondary students and among students who reported past-year/month use. We examined changes separately for students aged 12-17, and students for whom cannabis became legally accessible, ages 18-21.

SETTING: Uruguay and Chile (2007-2018).

PARTICIPANTS: Secondary school students in 8th , 10th , and 12th grade (n=204,730).

MEASUREMENTS: Past-year and past-month cannabis use; any risky cannabis use measured with the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test (CAST); and frequent cannabis use (10+ days in the past-month).

FINDINGS: We found a decrease in past-year and past-month use following enactment or implementation. Among students ages 18-21, post-enactment, we observed a transitory increase in 2014 that decreased thereafter for: any risky use among those who reported past-year use (prevalence difference [PD]=13.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.0, 24.9), frequent use in the full sample (PD=4.5%; 95%CI: 1.0, 8.1), and frequent use among those who reported past-month use (PD=16.8%; 95%CI: 1.9, 31.8).

CONCLUSION: The legalization of recreational cannabis in Uruguay was not associated with overall increases in either past-year/past-month cannabis use or with multi-year changes in any risky and frequent cannabis use among young people.

PMID:35491741 | DOI:10.1111/add.15913

Source: ncbi 2

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