AIM: To explore the characteristics of medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis users, and the conditions that were treated with cannabis.
METHODS: The data comes from the New Zealand Health Survey 2012/2013, which sampled 13,009 people, aged 15+ years, living in private or non-private dwellings in New Zealand. Participants self-reported cannabis use and were put into groups: 1) non-users; 2) ex-users; 3) last year users—non-medicinal; 4) last-year users—medicinal. Prevalence was reported for the major demographic subgroups; sex, age and ethnicity. Regression models were then used to find associations between demographic characteristics and cannabis use for groups 3 and 4.
RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: About five percent (4.6%, 95% CI 4.1–5.1) of those aged 15+ report using cannabis medicinally. This use was associated with being male, younger, less well-educated and relatively poor. While Māori have the highest prevalence of medicinal use, European NZ/Others make up 67.9% (95% CI 62.7–72.6) of medicinal users. Reported medicinal use was associated with reported conditions that were typically hard to manage; pain, anxiety/nerves and depression. Medicinal users were more likely to report chronic pain and pain interfering, moderately or more, with housework and other work.