Seasonal variation can be explained by New Year’s resolutions.
Marijuana use increases during the calendar year, averaging 13 percent at the end of each year (2015-2019) compared to the beginning, according to a new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
‘We found that marijuana use was consistently higher among those surveyed later in the year, peaking during late fall or early winter before declining early next year. We think it may be partly due to a ‘Dry January’ in which some people stop drinking alcohol or even stop using marijuana as part of a New Year’s resolution, ‘said Joseph Palamar, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the population . health at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, an associate researcher at the Center for Drug Use and HIV / HCV Research (CDUHR) at the NYU School of Global Public Health, and the lead author of the study. “We are now in the time of year when people have the least chance of using marijuana.”
Previous research shows that the use of alcohol and drugs varies according to the time of year, while drug use often increases during the summer months, partly possibly due to social events. These seasonal variations can inform interventions – studies show, for example, that programs to reduce heavy drinking among college students should begin during the summer.
To better understand the seasonal trends in marijuana use, Palamar and his colleagues analyzed data from 282,768 adolescents and adults who responded to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 to 2019. The survey asked participants about their use of marijuana and other months. substances, and the researchers estimated their use in each calendar quarter: January to March, April to June, July to September, and October to December.
With the progress of the calendar year, marijuana use increased every day, and it increased in the summer and fall months before declining as each new year began. While 8.9 percent used marijuana in January to March, 10.1 percent reported in October to December, a relative increase of 13 percent.
These seasonal trends occurred independently of the annual growth in marijuana use and were seen in almost all groups surveyed, regardless of gender, race / ethnicity and level of education. Teenagers were an exception; their use of marijuana grew in the summer, but decreased in the autumn months to winter and spring levels.
The use of recreation can stimulate growth over the course of the year, as similar small increases have occurred among those living in states with and without legal medical marijuana, and among those without prescription for medical marijuana. Seasonal use of marijuana has also increased among those who have reported using other substances, including alcohol, nicotine and especially LSD.
The researchers note that the consistent decline in marijuana use during the winter months may be due to several factors: a lower supply of cannabis crops this year, colder weather that keeps people indoors who normally smoke outside, or people who smoke marijuana cease as New Year’s intention.
“Ultimately, we hope these findings can be used by researchers and clinicians,” said co-author Austin Le, DDS, a research fellow at NYU Langone Health and orthodontic resident at NYU College of Dentistry. “Researchers who use marijuana should consider seasonal variation, as surveys done at the end of the year may yield different results than at the beginning of the year. And for those who want to reduce the use of marijuana, it seems that the best time for such a target may be later in the year – when the use is highest. “
Reference: “Quarterly Trends in Cannabis Use in the Last Month in the United States, 2015-2019” by Joseph J. Palamar, Austin Le and Benjamin H. Han, January 5, 2021, Drug and alcohol dependence.
DOI: 10.1016 / j.drugalcdep.2020.108494
In addition to Palamar and Le, Benjamin Han of the University of California, San Diego’s Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics co-authored the study. The research was supported by the National Institute for Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (grants R01DA044207 and K23DA043651).
About CDUHR The mission of the Center for Drug Use and HIV / HCV Research (CDUHR) is to end the HIV and HCV epidemics in drug populations and their communities by conducting transdisciplinary research and disseminating its findings to programmatically , inform policy and root roots. initiatives at local, state, national and global level. CDUHR is a core center of excellence funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant # P30 DA011041). It is the first center for the socio-behavioral study of drug use and HIV in the United States and is located in the NYU School of Global Public Health.