MAY 21, 2024 5:16 AM PDT

Study Examines Factors Involved in Cannabis Use for Self-Medication

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A French research team investigated cannabis use for self-medication to identify critical factors influencing consumption patterns. The findings published in the Journal of Cannabis Research indicated that roughly 10% used for self-medication, while almost all participants used for recreational purposes. The study found that the main factors associated with cannabis use for self-medication and other reasons included the presence of musculoskeletal disorders, cannabis use trajectories, tobacco use, and parental divorce.

The research team examined data from the French TEMPO (Trajectoires EpidéMiologiques en Population) cohort study collected between December 2020 and May 2021. Over 300 participants aged 27–47 completed surveys about their use of cannabis. The questions focused on reasons for use and the type of cannabis form used. The median age of participants was 41.1 years, and 61.4% were women. 71.8% were middle or upper class. The researchers used logistical regression modeling to analyze the data. 

Managing stress was the most common reason for using cannabis (58.3%). 36.1% use cannabis to manage anxiety (36.1%), while 11.1% consume cannabis to alleviate chronic pain, headaches, or migraines. All participants except for one used for recreational purposes. The study also found that 19.6% of participants used cannabis in the past 12 months. 56.9% of this subpopulation used cannabis in the past 30 days. 

Engaging in cannabis use during adolescence or early adulthood may increase the likelihood of resorting to self-medication in adulthood. Due to the propensity of individuals with cannabis use during adolescence to resort to uncontrolled products for self-medication, this population should be more systematically targeted and screened for symptoms and comorbidities that may be associated with cannabis use.

Cannabis is illegal in France, but it is the most common illicit drug used. The French medical cannabis program will launch in 2025 following a successful medical cannabis experiment that began in 2021. 

Sources: High Times, Journal of Cannabis Research 


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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