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Cannabis Consumption and Problems in the Family: Differences Across Gender, Ethnicity, and U.S. Nativity Among Young Adult Cannabis Consumers – Preliminary Insights from the Herbal Heart Study

Melanie Zamora
University of Miami

Co-Authors: Amrit Baral1, Bria-Necole A Diggs1, Ranya Marrakchi El Fellah1, Sarah E Messiah2, Raul Gonzalez3, Barry Hurwitz1, Claudia Martinez1, Denise C Vidot1
1University of Miami, 2University of Texas, 3Florida International University

Background: Cannabis usage amongst the family circle generates inquiry whether it displays a negative impact towards domestic interactions; accompanied by the distribution of problems arising from its anticipated utilization. This study aims to examine family dynamics among cannabis consumers with respect to social determinants of health (gender, ethnicity, and US nativity.

Methods: This analysis utilized data from the ongoing Herbal Heart Study Cohort (n=150), which explores the impact of cannabinoids and different cannabis consumption methods on subclinical cardiovascular risk among young adults aged 18-35 in South Florida. Cannabis use was self-reported and confirmed through rapid urine drug screening. As part of the Marijuana Problem Scale (MPS) questionnaire, participants were queried about potential family issues arising from cannabis consumption, with response options ranging from “no problem” to “minor problem” and “serious problem.” For the purpose of this analysis, responses were coded into a binary variable, simplifying to “Yes” if any problem was reported and “No” otherwise. Participants self-reported US nativity (US-born vs Foreign-born) and ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino or non-Hispanic. Descriptive statistics were employed for prevalence, and significance tests were conducted using Chi-squared tests with SAS Analytics.

Results: Among the total cannabis consumers (n=76), 57.9% were female, with a mean age of 25.0 years; 55.3% identified as Hispanic/Latino, and 75.0% were born in the US. Overall, 25.3% of the sample reported cannabis-related family problems. There was no significant difference in current age (p=0.2698) as well as age of cannabis use initiation (p=0.7181) between cannabis users reporting family problems and those who did not. However, a notable disparity emerged between Hispanics and non-Hispanics, with 38.1% of Hispanics reporting problems compared to 8.8% of non-Hispanics (p=0.0034). Sex differences were not significant (p=0.9370). Interestingly, a higher percentage of foreign-born young adults reported family problems caused by cannabis compared to US-born individuals (47.4% vs. 17.5%, p=0.0093).

Conclusion: The results highlight a relationship between the Hispanic community, family, and cannabis consumption. Ethnicity emerged as a significant factor, sparking interest in its relationship with cannabis usage. Further exploration is needed to understand how cannabis consumption impacts familial relationships negatively, underscoring the need for additional research in this domain.