Implications of Cannabis Legalization on University Student’s Cannabis Use and Associated Outcomes
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The recent legalization of recreational cannabis use in Canada suggests that minimal research exists regarding post-legalization trends in cannabis consumption and related outcomes with usage. The purpose of this study was to examine trends in cannabis use, motives to use, and related psychosocial and academic outcomes of usage among students at the University of Saskatchewan. Four hundred and seventy-eight students who had used cannabis in the last six months, ages 18 to 55 years (mean age = 25.02, SD = 5.95) completed a battery of measures designed to examine cannabis use severity and associated constructs (i.e., substance use risk, personal well-being, non-specific psychological distress, academic behaviors, and motivations for use). Among the participants, 31% (n = 148) were found to be hazardous users. Results demonstrated significant small negative associations between cannabis use severity and academic behaviors, personal well-being, and age onset of use, as well as significant positive small associations between cannabis use severity and psychological distress, substance use risk, and all recreational and medicinal motives except for the conformity motive. Hazardous users more often used cannabis for all of the motives, except for the conformity and CNS motives, than non-hazardous users. Lastly, using cannabis for enhancement, coping, expansion, sleep difficulties, and conformity purposes, as well as having impulsive personality traits were found to be important predictors of cannabis use severity, with the enhancement motive identified as the strongest predictor. The small effect sizes found may suggest that legalization has impacted the demographic of cannabis users, with initiatives potentially acting as protective factors against the typical associates of use. Information gleaned from this study can inform prevention and treatment options and the development of campus guidelines for safe cannabis use.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramSchool and Counselling Psychology
CommitteeMykota, David; Mousavi, Amin; Chernoff, Egan