University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Cannabis Use Among Female Community College Students Who Use Alcohol in a State With and a State Without Nonmedical Cannabis Legalization in the US

Kole Binger, BS; Bradley R. Kerr, MS; Melissa A. Lewis, PhD; Anne M. Fairlie, PhD; Reese H. Hyzer, MS; Megan A. Moreno, MD, MPH, MSEd

WMJ. 2023;122(2):95-100.

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Introduction: Female community college students who use alcohol may be an at-risk group for cannabis use, especially in US states with nonmedical cannabis legalization. This study examined cannabis use among this population. We tested differences in current cannabis use across a state with versus a state without (Washington vs Wisconsin, respectively) nonmedical cannabis legalization.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included female students aged 18-29 who were current alcohol users attending a community college. An online survey assessed lifetime and current cannabis use (last 60 days) via the Customary Drinking and Drug Use Record. Logistic regression tested whether community college state and demographic characteristics were associated with current cannabis use.

Results: Among 148 participants, 75.0% (n = 111) reported lifetime cannabis use. The majority of participants from Washington (81.1%, n = 77) and Wisconsin (64.2%, n = 34) reported ever trying cannabis. Almost half of participants (45.3%, n = 67) indicated current cannabis use. Among Washington participants, 57.9% (n = 55) reported current use compared to 22.6% (n = 12) of Wisconsin participants. Washington school attendance was positively associated with current cannabis use (OR = 5.97; 95% CI, 2.50-14.28, P < 0.001), after controlling for age, race, ethnicity, grade point average, and income.

Conclusions: High cannabis use in this sample of female drinkers – particularly in a state with nonmedical cannabis legalization – underscores the need for prevention and intervention efforts targeted to community college students.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Binger); University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wis (Kerr, Hyzer, Moreno); University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas (Lewis); University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (Fairlie).
Corresponding Author: Bradley R. Kerr, MS; Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 2870 University Ave, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53705; Phone 608.262.4440; email; ORCID ID 0000-0002-1336-786X
Funding/Support: Data collection and manuscript preparation were supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant R34AA025159 awarded to M.A. Moreno and M. A. Lewis.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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