Abstract: "I Just be Chillin": Cbd Use & Anxiety Among College Students (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

514P "I Just be Chillin": Cbd Use & Anxiety Among College Students

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Fahmida Afroz, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Georgia, Athens
Jennie Pless, MSW, PhD Student, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Kasandra Dodd, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Georgia, Athens
Jana Woodiwiss, LMSW, Doctoral Student, University of Georgia, Athens
Brian Graves, MSW, Doctoral student, University of Georgia
Background & Purpose: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a legal naturally occurring substance derived from hemp plants. Advertised for its ability to lower anxiety, improve sleep, reduce pain, and a host of other things, CBD has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years. Despite its increasing acceptance and easy accessibility, little is known about its usage among emerging adults (ages 18-25) in university settings. This study aims to examine 1) why college students do or do not use ingestible CBD products and how often they use them, 2) the relationship between CBD use and anxiety.

Methods: Data for this cross-sectional study were collected through an online survey sent via email to all undergraduate students at a large university in the southeastern United States. CBD use frequency was measured with a 7-point Likert scale ranging from “I’ve tried it once” to “several times a week.” Anxiety was measured using both the General Anxiety Disorder-7 (7 items) for general anxiety and the Severity Measure for Social Anxiety Disorder - Adult (10 items) for social anxiety. Logistic regressions were used to test the impact of anxiety on whether or not someone had tried CBD, and OLS regressions were used to test whether anxiety is a predictor in how often someone uses CBD.

Results: Of the college students in our sample (N = 3472), 57% have used ingestible CBD products at least once, with 17.3% (n = 603) using them once a month or more. The most common uses for CBD products were to reduce anxiety (n = 952), to reduce stress (n = 858), and to improve sleep (n = 816). Other reasons included because their friends use them (n = 713), because they are easy to access (n = 487), and because they are legal (n = 530).

Both logistic regression models were significant, and showed that both general anxiety (OR = 1.037, 95% CI [1.024, 1.050]) and social anxiety (OR = 1.025, 95% CI [1.016,1.033]) were predictive of someone having used CBD at least once. Results from the OLS model showed that higher levels of overall anxiety were a significant predictor of more frequent CBD use. This was true independently for both general anxiety (β = .106, t = 5.927, p < .001) and social anxiety (β = .117, t = 6.602, p < .001).

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the largest study examining CBD use, intention of use, and its relationship to both general and social anxiety among college students to date. Findings from our study suggest that many college students are exploring CBD use for various purposes, particularly for relief from anxiety, stress, and to improve sleep. Social workers and university service providers may benefit from this work as it highlights the potential for college students to use CBD as a coping mechanism for anxiety. Additional areas for social work research include understanding how anxiety impacts emerging adults in university settings and coping mechanisms used as a result, which can inform future interventions to improve emerging adults’ health.