Bisexual women are seven times more likely to consume medical cannabis on a daily basis than their heterosexual counterparts, according to the first study of its kind. 

It found that found 40 per cent of bisexual women had used medical marijuana in the last year. Just 10 per cent of heterosexual women and 26 per cent of gay women had done so. 

Published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the report by Colombia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found just 1.5 per cent heterosexual women engaged in daily medical marijuana usage, compared to six per cent of gay women and 10 per cent of bisexual women.

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After analysing data from 126,463 adults in the 2015-2017 US’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers suggested that, the stigma faced by bisexual women could drive more of them to take the drug.   

Both bisexual and gay women could be self-medicating to ease “sexual minority stress”, the report states. 

“Our results support existing literature by demonstrating that bisexual women have higher marijuana use disorder compared to heterosexual women,” one of the study’s authors’ Morgan Philbin, said.  

The assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School, added: “This is part of a larger health burden, as bisexual women are twice as likely to have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders yet often have little contact with service providers.

”While research has explored how LGB (lesbian gay and bisexual) discrimination policies may impact substance use, less work has explored how substance use policies may impact LGB men and women differently than heterosexuals.”

Researchers also found bisexual men were also more likely to consume medical marijuana – with nine per cent found to engage in daily usage, compared to seven per cent of gay men and four per cent of straight men.

While around a third of gay and bisexual men admitted to using the drug in the past year, almost a fifth of straight men did, researchers found. 

Silvia Martins, associate professor of Epidemiology, said the study shows the need to assign “resources that target sexual minority women especially as medical marijuana laws and recreational marijuana laws continue to change at the state level.”

She added: “Future surveys that capture how individuals identify will help us pinpoint how state-level marijuana policies may differentially impact specific sub-populations, ultimately advancing the development of more health-promoting policies for all.”

The research comes after a study in the UK found lesbian and bisexual women are at greater risk of being overweight than heterosexual counterparts.

The study carried out by researchers at UCL and the University of East Anglia found gay men were less likely to be overweight than their straight counterparts and are instead more at risk of being underweight.

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Researchers said the findings, published in the Journal of Public Health in February, support the view that sexual identity should be deemed a “social determinant of health”.

Dr Joanna Semlyen, the lead researcher of that study, said: “We know that sexual minority groups are more likely to be exposed to psychosocial stressors, which impacts on their mental health and their health behaviours such as smoking and alcohol use, and which may influence their health behaviours such as diet or physical activity. 

“These stressors include homophobia and heterosexism, negative experiences that are experienced by the lesbian, bisexual and gay population as a result of their sexual orientation identity and are known to be linked to health.”

She also noted sexual orientation was not recorded in health surveys until 2008 – meaning that until recently it has not been possible to determine health inequalities affecting lesbian, gay and bisexual people.