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Original article

Vol. 151 No. 5152 (2021)

Prevalence, modes of administration and motives for cannabidiol use in young Swiss men

  • Nicolas Bertholet
  • Simon Marmet
  • Matthias Wicki
  • Gerhard Gmel
  • Joseph Studer
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w30054


AIMS OF THE STUDY: In Switzerland, there has been a boom in the market for cannabidiol (CBD) products in recent years. However, little is known on the prevalence, modes of administration and motives for use of CBD products. The aim of the present study was to fill this gap using recent (2019) data from the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF).

METHODS: Between April and December 2019, an unselected sample of 5233 Swiss young men from the French- and German-speaking regions (mean age 28.2 years, standard deviation 1.3) completed a self-report questionnaire covering measures of use of CBD products, modes of administration and motives to use of CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cigarettes. Descriptive statistics were used to estimate prevalence of self-reported use, modes of administration and motives to use CBD, whereas logistic regression models were used to test the associations of linguistic region, THC and tobacco use with use of CBD.

RESULTS: Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of self-reported use of CBD were 32.4% and 18.5%, respectively. Among past 12-month CBD users, 79.4% used CBD once a month or less often, whereas 20.6% used it more than once a month. The most often reported modes of administration of CBD were in association with tobacco: flowers mixed with tobacco (67.5%), and CBD cigarettes with tobacco (37.1%), while 18.6% used flowers without tobacco. The three most reported reasons for using CBD were: out of curiosity (74.0%), to feel the effects of THC (38.1%) and for well-being and health (37.5%). In multivariable models, CBD use was associated with use of THC (odds ratio [OR] 9.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] 8.28–11.73), cigarettes (OR 2.74, 95% CI 2.28–3.29) or e-cigarettes (OR 1.5795% CI 1.27–1.95), as well as for the linguistic region (French-speaking vs German-speaking region OR 1.3895% CI 1.15–1.65).

CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported use of CBD is common among young Swiss men: about one third used CBD in their life and about one in five in the previous 12 months. However, the vast majority of CBD users used it infrequently and out of curiosity. CBD use was particularly prevalent among users of THC and cigarette smokers. CBD was most often used in combination with tobacco, thus exposing users to risks associated with smoking tobacco products.


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