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Mindfulness Practices and the Quality of Life Among Young Adult Cannabis Consumers in South Florida: Preliminary Results from Herbal Heart Study

Amrit Baral
University of Miami

Co-Authors: Yash Agrawal1, Anurag Aka1, Sarah Messiah2, Joseph De Santis1, Raul Gonzalez3, Barry Hurwitz1, Claudia Martinez1, Denise C Vidot1
1University of Miami, 2University of Texas, 3Florida International University

Background: In contemporary health research, the exploration of mindfulness practices and cannabis science is expanding. With growing interest in mindfulness and increasing prevalence of cannabis use in this demographic, this study aims to investigate associations between mindfulness and quality of life among young adult cannabis users, providing valuable insights into their holistic experiences.

Methods: Data is a subsample of cannabis users (n=76) from the baseline visit of the ongoing Herbal Heart Study cohort (N=150), studying the impact of cannabinoids and cannabis consumption routes on subclinical cardiovascular risk among young adults (18-35 years), residing in South Florida. The validated Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-15) was administered to measure mindfulness with regards to thoughts, experiences, actions, and daily life. The overall scores of all five subscales were calculated based on standardized instruction. Quality of life (QOL) was assessed using the 26-item World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF), comprising four domains: physical health, psychological well-being, social relations, and environment. Total scores within each domain were transformed to a 0–100 scale, aligning with WHOQOL-100 standards for comparison. Two items gauged participants’ overall perceptions of QOL and their health. Total QOL scores and scores across domains were compared between those practicing and not practicing mindfulness using Mann–Whitney U tests.

Results: Of the 76 cannabis users, 57.9% were female, mean age 25.0 years (SD=4.3), and 63.2% reported practicing mindfulness. Significant differences in the total median QOL scores were observed between individuals who reported practicing mindfulness and those who did not (95.0 vs 87.5, U=879.0, Z=-2.1385, p=0.036). Specifically, respondents engaged in mindfulness practices had higher median scores in the psychological well-being (66.7 vs 54.2, U=842.0, Z=-2.5470, p=0.013) and social relations (75.0 vs 66.7, U=890.0, Z=-2.0370, p=0.041) domains. Conversely, no significant differences were found between mindfulness practitioners and non-practitioners in the physical health (Z=-1.7255, p=0.089) and environment (Z=-1.3556, p=0.179) domains. Notably, those incorporating mindfulness practices exhibited a lower median score for their overall perception of QOL and general health (5 vs 4, U=1281.5, Z=2.2268, p=0.026).

Conclusion: Findings highlight the complex interplay between mindfulness practices, cannabis use, and quality of life domains within cannabis consumers. Further research and nuanced interpretation of these relationships and their impact on young adult health.