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Am J Prev Med. 2018 Nov;55(5):592-602. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.06.023. Epub 2018 Sep 24.

Maternal Cannabis Use During a Child's Lifetime Associated With Earlier Initiation.

Author information

1
Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island. Electronic address: natasha_sokol@brown.edu.
2
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Earlier cannabis initiation is associated with more severe neuropsychiatric and social consequences. The authors investigated whether mothers' cannabis use is associated with earlier cannabis initiation by their children.

METHODS:

Mother and child data were from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (1980-1998 waves) and Child and Young Adults (1988-2014 waves) cohorts, respectively. Cox proportional hazard models assessed the effect of maternal cannabis use prior to a child's adolescence on the child's risk of subsequent cannabis initiation. Models were stratified by race and child's age category (6-16, 17-24, ≥25 years). Adjusted analyses controlled for sociodemographic variables. Analyses were conducted in 2017.

RESULTS:

Median age of cannabis initiation for children of maternal ever users was age 16years compared with age 18years among children of maternal never users. Children of 1-year and multiple-year users were at increased risk of cannabis initiation between ages 6 and 16years (hazard ratio=1.38, p<0.001, and hazard ratio = 1.45, p<0.001, respectively). Effects were slightly stronger among non-Hispanic non-black children.

CONCLUSIONS:

As cannabis legalization expands across the U.S., adult use may become increasingly normative. This study indicates that maternal cannabis use may be a risk factor for early initiation among their offspring. Preventive interventions should consider strategies to delay initiation among children of cannabis users.

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