A Comparative Analysis of the Frequency and Motivations for Cannabis Use in College Students With & Without an Autoimmune Disease

Main Article Content

Paula M. Millin Flynn Klace Dana Balsink Krieg

Abstract

The therapeutic effects of cannabis and its derivatives have been well established for a narrow number of conditions, including syndrome-related seizures, cancer-related nausea, and AIDS-related anorexia. Research progress in the United States has been slowed by restrictions related to cannabis’ status as a highly controlled substance. Despite the sluggish pace of empirical research, there is a high level of interest among both scientists and patients regarding cannabis’ possible efficacy for a much wider range of diseases and conditions. Studies indicate that many people are self-medicating with cannabis for both physical and psychological ailments. New evidence suggests that cannabinoids may be beneficial to those who have an autoimmune disease; this may be due to cannabis’ modulatory effects on the immune system. The current study, in an attempt to determine if college students with autoimmune diseases are self-medicating their symptoms with cannabis, surveyed students (5.8% of whom reported a diagnosed autoimmune disease) about their frequency, route of administration, and motivations for cannabis use. Independent samples t-tests and chi-squared tests revealed that while those with an autoimmune disease were significantly more likely to report having used cannabis in the past 30 days than their peers without an autoimmune disease, the frequency of use in the past 30 days did not differ. Participants with autoimmune disease were significantly more likely to endorse therapeutic motives for cannabis consumption, including pain and nausea control and to improve sleep and appetite. This study is one of the first to investigate self-medication motives for cannabis use in young adults with an autoimmune disease. Potential mechanisms, as well as benefits and drawbacks of cannabis use as medicine in this population are discussed.

Article Details

How to Cite
MILLIN, Paula M.; KLACE, Flynn; KRIEG, Dana Balsink. A Comparative Analysis of the Frequency and Motivations for Cannabis Use in College Students With & Without an Autoimmune Disease. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 11, nov. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/4674>. Date accessed: 23 apr. 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v11i11.4674.
Section
Research Articles

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