Online survey shows marijuana is smoked more than admitted in national surveys
USA-based studies show that tobacco and cannabis smoking are linked with four times as many young adult smokers using cannabis as non-smokers.
However this age group is very varied, and hard to reach, so traditional means of monitoring substance use does not provide the full picture.
New research from an online survey, published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, shows that over half of smokers, aged 18-25, had also smoked cannabis in the past 30 days. Detailed analysis of the results from the survey show that ‘stop smoking’ campaigns need to factor in use of cannabis to their treatment plans.
Internet surveys can have many benefits over traditional surveys which rely on face to face interviews or filling out a form and posting it, especially amongst the 18-25 age group. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco recruited young adults onto an online survey into smoking patterns, using Facebook, Craigslist, and a survey sampling company. Everyone who indicated that they had used tobacco in the previous month was invited to participate in a marijuana and tobacco use survey. The survey used data encryption to ensure anonymity whilst preventing multiple entries.
Of the 3500 people who were surveyed co-use of tobacco and marijuana was highest for Caucasians, people from the Northeast of the USA, people from rural areas, and amongst the non-student population. While 68% were daily smokers, 53% had used cannabis in the last month and cannabis use was highest for the daily smokers.
Dr. Judith Prochaska commented, “There were high levels of marijuana use in this sample of young adult smokers. The high prevalence of cannabis use was consistent across the board with no differences by gender, age, income or ethnicity.” Dr. Danielle Ramo continued, “Among those who used cannabis, daily tobacco smoking (compared to non-daily smoking) was associated with more frequent marijuana use. ‘Stop smoking’ plans aimed at this age group should take into account the effect of marijuana use in their programs.”