Young people classified as bisexual not only use cannabis more frequently but also are more likely to use it to cope with mental health issues and for what researchers call experiential “enhancement.”

A recent study, titled “The Pot at the End of the Rainbow,” is one of the first to examine motives for cannabis use among sexual minorities quantitatively. Led by Washington State University psychologists, researchers analyzed survey data from nearly 4,700 university students from across the country. Of the participants, 23% were classified as bisexual after indicating that they were not exclusively attracted to one gender.

Kyle Schofield.
Schofield

The group classified as bisexual was more likely to report using cannabis to cope as well as for enhancement, which is a bit surprising,” said Kyle Schofield, a WSU Ph.D. candidate in psychology and first author on the study published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. “The coping motive was less surprising because we also saw that the group classified as bisexual reported higher levels of all the mental health problems that we looked at in the study.”

The bisexual group reported higher levels of cannabis use disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, depression and suicidality than either the groups classified as exclusively “straight” or “gay”—findings that are in line with previous research.

Carrie Cuttler.
Cuttler

For this study, Schofield worked with his advising professor Carrie Cuttler to analyze archival data from an Addictions Research Team survey, which combines participant pools from 10 universities across the U.S.

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