Tracking Cannabis Use Disorder

KPSOM faculty research examines prevalence of the condition in Washington, a legal state

September 28, 2023

KPSOM Assistant Professor of Health Systems Science Gwen Lapham

KPSOM Assistant Professor of Health Systems Science Gwen Lapham

Gwen Lapham, PhD, MPH, MSW, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (KPSOM) Assistant Professor of Health Systems Science, has coauthored a study assessing the prevalence of cannabis use disorder (CUD) among primary care patients who use cannabis in Washington state, where recreational use is legal. 

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, persons with cannabis use disorder have two or more of the following symptoms: craving marijuana, becoming tolerant, using more than intended, using marijuana even though it causes life issues, using marijuana in high-risk situations, experiencing withdrawal, and being unable to quit. 

The study found that CUD was prevalent, affecting approximately 21.3 percent of participants. However, the severity of CUD varied notably based on the reasons for cannabis use. While the prevalence of CUD did not differ significantly by usage, moderate to severe CUD was more common among patients who reported any nonmedical use. The findings highlight the importance of evaluating patient cannabis use and CUD symptoms in medical settings.

Read the article here .