Rates of cannabis use are on the rise, especially among young adults (aged 18-25) who have become less concerned about the risks associated with using cannabis. Cannabis is now legally available for recreational use in about half of US states and there are a wide variety of cannabis products on the market. These new products often have higher THC amounts than available in the past and with increasing THC potency individuals are at higher risk of developing a cannabis use disorder and experiencing other life-altering consequences.
In a cutting-edge study led by U-M Addiction Center T-32 Fellow Autumn Rae Florimbio and a team of U-M colleagues, they examined how young adults perceive the risks of using cannabis as it relates to four different consumption methods (e.g., smoking, vaping, dabbing, and ingesting it) and patterns of consumption (e.g., using it regularly or occasionally). This is the first study in the US that assessed how young people consider the risks of the variety of cannabis products that are available in today’s legal market.
From a sample of young adults in the Flint, Michigan area, the results showed that the majority of those who didn't use cannabis thought vaping it regularly was the riskiest. Those who only smoke cannabis or use multiple methods of consumption considered dabbing regularly to be the riskiest. These findings are important because they can help guide efforts to mitigate the public health impacts of cannabis use in today’s world among young adults.
"Our results provide unique insights into perceived risk of cannabis-related harms, showing that the level of risk that young adults can attribute to cannabis products varies by modality. We are excited to see how our findings can be applied in future research to inform policy and preventative interventions to reduce cannabis-related harms." - Autumn Rae Florimbio, Ph.D.
This work was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA #045712; PI: Bonar].Dr. Florimbio’s time was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [NIAAA #007477; PI: Blow]. Thank you to the patients and staff at Hurley Medical Center who made this study possible.
Source: Florimbio, A. R., Walton, M. A., Coughlin, L. N., Lin, L. A., & Bonar, E. E. (2023). Perceived risk of harm for different methods of cannabis consumption: a brief report. Drug and alcohol dependence. Volume 251 (1). 110915.