Over the past two decades, there have been significant changes in state-level policies (i.e., decriminalization, medicalization, legalization) in the U.S. regarding marijuana use. Prior research has found a relationship between marijuana policies and decreased perceived risk as well as increased prevalence of use. In light of these historical shifts, the public health implications of marijuana use deserve increased attention by researchers so that we can discern patterns of use, evaluate risk, and inform intervention. This dissertation has three aims: (1) investigate how correlates of use prevalence versus use frequency vary; (2) offer a theoretical explanation as to why more education is associated with less frequent marijuana use utilizing a specific hypothesis from Human Capital Theory, and (3) determine if the association between justice-involvement and marijuana use is mediated by social integration and poor health. Data are analyzed from 41,685 U.S. civilians; noninstitutionalized population aged 18 or older who participated in the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The NSDUH provides information on use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs as well as data on mental health among members of the noninstitutionalized population of the U.S. aged 12 years old or older. Logistic and zero-inflated negative binomial regression analysis are used to assess aims. In accordance with Aim 1, health and behavioral correlates of marijuana use vary depending on how use it quantified. Respondents who use marijuana with greater frequency, compared to those who use infrequently, are more likely to experience adverse health and behavioral associations. With regard to Aim 2, findings indicate that education allows individuals to merge health-producing behaviors into a practical, healthy lifestyle. Concerning Aim 3, justice-involvement was found to be associated with marijuana use because justice-involved people have worse health. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Pomykacz, Corey, "Marijuana Use Among Adults in the United States: Comparing Correlates of Use, Assessing Impact of Education, and Evaluating Use and Health amid Justice-Involved Populations" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 271.