Trends in marijuana use in two Latin American countries: an age, period and cohort study

Alvaro Castillo-Carniglia, Ariadne Rivera-Aguirre, Esteban Calvo, Rosario Queirolo, Katherine M. Keyes, Magdalena Cerdá

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and Aims: Uruguay and Chile have the highest levels of marijuana use in Latin America, and have experienced consistent increases during the last two decades. We aim to calculate separate age–period–cohort (APC) effects for past-year marijuana use in Uruguay and Chile, which have similar epidemiologica, and demographic profiles but diverging paths in cannabis regulation. Design: APC study in which period and cohort effects were estimated as first derivative deviations from their linear age trend, separately by country and gender. Setting: Uruguay and Chile. Participants: General population between 15 and 64 years. Measurements: Past-year marijuana use from household surveys with five repeated cross-sections between 2001 and 2018 in Uruguay (median n = 4616) and 13 between 1994 and 2018 in Chile (median n = 15 895). Findings: Marijuana use prevalence in both countries peaked at 20–24 years of age and increased consistently across calendar years. Period effects were strong and positive, indicating that increases in use were evident across age groups. Relative to 2006 (reference year), Chilean period effects were approximately 48% lower in 1994 and approximately four times higher in 2018; in Uruguay, these effects were approximately 56% lower in 2001 and almost quadrupled in 2018. We observed non-linear cohort effects in Chile and similar patterns in Uruguay for the overall sample and women. In both countries, marijuana use increased for cohorts born between the mid-1970s and early 1990s, even in the context of rising period effects. Prevalence was consistently larger for men, but period increases were stronger in women. Conclusions: Age–period–cohort effects on past-year marijuana use appear to have been similar in Chile and Uruguay, decreasing with age and increasing over time at heterogeneous growth rates depending on gender and cohort. Current levels of marijuana use, including age and gender disparities, seem to be associated with recent common historical events in these two countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAddiction
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Age
  • Chile
  • cohort
  • marijuana
  • period
  • Uruguay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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