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Determining Risks for Cannabis Use Disorder in the Face of Changing Legal Policies


Purpose of Review

This review aims to summarize and critically evaluate the current literature on the associations between individual and socio-cultural factors that increase risk for cannabis use disorder (CUD), and policy change.

Recent findings

Epidemiological studies show that areas with permissive legal cannabis climates are associated with greater individual risk factors for CUD. This includes (1) higher rates of edible consumption and vaping, (2) higher delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency and lower cannabidiol (CBD) levels, and (3) younger age of initiation of use.


A change in the socio-cultural level, such as shifts in the legalization of cannabis, could interact with individual-level factors in their associations with CUD. There is currently a lack of empirical studies that evaluate this interaction. We propose that future research consider a bioecological framework for CUD to allow for a comprehensive understanding of the effects of legal climate that could inform policy and clinical practice.

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Fig. 1


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Grant 1R01DA042490-01A1

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Correspondence to Francesca Filbey.

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Taylor, M., Cousijn, J. & Filbey, F. Determining Risks for Cannabis Use Disorder in the Face of Changing Legal Policies. Curr Addict Rep 6, 466–477 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-019-00288-6

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  • Cannabis use disorder
  • Risk
  • Public health
  • Legalization
  • Bioecological model
  • Cultural