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Is there a cannabis epidemic model? Evidence from France, Germany and USA
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2014 (English)In: International Journal of Drug Policy, ISSN 0955-3959, Vol. 25, no 6, 1103-1112 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Cannabis is the most popular illicit drug in the world, but the process of its diffusion throughthe population has rarely been studied. The unfolding of the tobacco epidemic was accompanied by ashift in the educational gradient of users across generations. As a consequence, cannabis may show thesame pattern of widening social inequalities. We test the diffusion hypotheses that a positive value inolder cohorts – the more educated experimenting more – shifts to a negative one in younger cohorts –the more educated experimenting less, first for males and then females. Methods: Three nationwide subsamples (18–64 years old) of representative surveys conducted in France(n = 21,818), Germany (n = 7887) and USA (n = 37,115) in 2009–2010 recorded age at cannabis experimen-tation (i.e., first use), educational level, gender, and age. Cumulative prevalence of experimentation wasplotted for three retrospective cohorts (50–64, 35–49, 18–34 years old at data collection) and multivariatetime-discrete logistic regression was computed by gender and generation to model age at experimen-tation adjusted on age at data collection and educational level. This latter was measured according tofour categories derived from the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and a relative(rather than absolute) index of education. Results: The findings demonstrate a consistent pattern of evolution of the prevalence, gender ratio andeducational gradient across generations and countries that support the hypothesis of an “epidemic” ofcannabis experimentation that mimics the epidemic of tobacco. Conclusion: We provide evidence for a cannabis epidemic model similar to the tobacco epidemic model.In the absence of clues regarding the future of cannabis use, our findings demonstrate that the gender gapis decreasing and, based on the epidemic model, suggest that we may expect widening social inequalitiesin cannabis experimentation if cannabis use decreases in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 25, no 6, 1103-1112 p.
Keyword [en]
Cannabis experimentation, cannabis epidemic, cross-national comparison, educational inequalities, gender inequalities
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109926DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.07.002ISI: 000347499400010OAI: diva2:767665
Available from: 2014-12-02 Created: 2014-12-02 Last updated: 2015-02-16Bibliographically approved

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Kraus, Ludwig
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Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD)

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