UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigating factors associated with medicinal cannabis use among military veterans Mejia, Angela Czarina


The first part of this thesis is a literature review that summarizes the current scientific evidence on factors associated with medicinal cannabis use among military veterans, responding to a priority Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) evidence need on the use of medicinal cannabis to inform the delivery of this health benefit and program for veterans. It was found that cannabis use among military veterans is associated with multiple sociodemographic/economic, health-related and military services characteristics, but most consistently with mental health related conditions and with combat related military characteristics. However, much of the existing literature on cannabis use among veterans is from cross-sectional study designs, and the body of literature would be strengthened by future cohort or longitudinal study designs. The second part is a feasibility study demonstrating the utility of the linkage of VAC data and the procedures for using these data for research purposes, including a descriptive study that investigates the use of VAC data to summarize the population of Canadian veterans who receive cannabis for medical purposes (CMP). The highest average amount of CMP per authorization was observed among veterans in their 30s, those who were male, those who were separated/divorced/widowed, those who resided in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba, those with an approved pensionable condition for mental health and hearing conditions, those who were junior non-commissioned members (JrNCM), with land environment at the time of release and with less than 20 years of service. The third and final part of this thesis is an epidemiological study using multivariable models to examine the complex profile of sociodemographic/economic, health-related and military service characteristics associated with VAC medicinal cannabis authorization dosage (4 to 10 grams versus 3 grams or less) prescribed for Canadian regular force veterans. The strongest associations with a higher authorization amount were observed for veterans receiving benefits for mental health conditions, by province of residence, and for more recent year of authorization; as well as for veterans who were younger and male gender, actively participating in a rehabilitation program, with land environment at the time of release, and who had an involuntary release from service.

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