Self-reported marijuana use over 25 years and abdominal adiposity: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study

Michael P. Bancks, Reto Auer, J. Jeffrey Carr, David C. Goff, Catarina Kiefe, Jamal S. Rana, Jared Reis, Stephen Sidney, James G. Terry, Pamela J. Schreiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aims: We investigated the association between cumulative lifetime and current marijuana use with total abdominal adipose tissue (AT), visceral AT, subcutaneous AT, intermuscular AT, and mean liver attenuation (LA) at mid-life. Design: Longitudinal and cross-sectional secondary data analysis of participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. Setting: CARDIA field centers in Birmingham, AL; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; and Oakland, CA, USA. Participants: CARDIA participants, aged 18–30 years in 1985–1986, who were present at the clinic examination in 2010–2011 (n = 2902). Measurements: Marijuana use was assessed from responses to self-administered questionnaires at 8 CARDIA examinations over 25 years, determined as cumulative marijuana-years and current use status. Non-contrast computed tomography imaging of the abdomen was obtained in 2010–2011. Findings: In 2010–2011, 84% of participants reported a history of marijuana use with 11% reporting use within the past 30 days. Before adjustment, we observed greater cumulative marijuana use was associated with lower total abdominal and subcutaneous AT volume and lower LA and current marijuana use was associated with lower subcutaneous AT. However, after adjustment for age, sex, race, field center, cigarette pack-years and current use, regular alcohol consumption, cumulative drink-years, and physical activity, neither cumulative marijuana use nor current use showed an association with any abdominal adipose depot. Our estimates did not differ by age, sex, or race nor after accounting for cohort attrition. Conclusion: Neither cumulative marijuana use nor current marijuana use is associated with total abdominal, visceral, subcutaneous, or intermuscular adipose tissue, or liver attenuation in mid-life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-698
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M.P.B. was supported by the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers T32HL007779 and T32HL069771 to conduct the current work. The Coronary Artery Risk DevelopmentinYoungAdultsStudy(CARDIA)isconducted and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (HHSN268201300025C & HHSN268201300026C), Northwestern University (HHSN268201300027C), University of Minnesota (HHSN268201300028C), Kaiser Foundation Research Institute (HHSN268201300029C), and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (HHSN268200900041C). CARDIA is also partially supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and an intra-agency agreement between NIA and NHLBI (AG0005). CARDIA year 25 CT studies were partially supported by NHLBI R01-HL-098445 (J.J.C). This manuscript has been reviewed by CARDIA for scientific content.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Society for the Study of Addiction


  • Abdominal adiposity
  • computed tomography
  • epidemiology
  • marijuana use
  • observational
  • young adulthood


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