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Regular past year cannabis use in women veterans and associations with sexual trauma.

Browne KC, Dolan M, Simpson TL, Fortney JC, Lehavot K. Regular past year cannabis use in women veterans and associations with sexual trauma. Addictive Behaviors. 2018 Sep 1; 84:144-150.

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INTRODUCTION: This study sought to describe the prevalence of regular past year cannabis use (i.e., at least monthly use) in women veterans, to characterize women veterans reporting this level of use, and to examine the independent contributions of sexual trauma across the lifespan on regular past year cannabis use. METHODS: A national online survey on women veterans' health, with targeted oversampling of lesbian and bisexual women, collected data from US armed forces women veterans, 18 or older, living in the US (N = 636). RESULTS: Eleven percent of women reported regular cannabis use (5% heterosexual women; 21% lesbian/bisexual women). In bivariate analysis, identifying as a sexual and/or racial ethnic minority, younger age, being unmarried, reporting lower income, receiving VA services, smoking tobacco, and screening positive for alcohol misuse were positively associated with regular cannabis use. Additionally, a greater percentage of cannabis users reported experiencing childhood and adult sexual trauma and screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when compared to peers who did not use any drugs. In a multivariate model, the number of life eras women endorsed experiencing sexual trauma was significantly associated with regular cannabis use even when adjusting for demographic variables and PTSD symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Among women veterans, regular cannabis use is fairly common among those who are sexual and racial/ethnic minorities, younger, unmarried, receiving VA services, and reporting alcohol or tobacco use, PTSD symptoms, and/or multiple sexual traumas across the lifespan. Screening and assessment may be important to consider in healthcare settings serving this veteran population.

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