Alcohol and Cannabis Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Transgender, Gender-Diverse, and Cisgender Adults in Canada
This study examined whether heavy episodic drinking [alcohol use] (HED), cannabis use, and subjective changes in alcohol and cannabis use during the COVID-19 pandemic differ between transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) and cisgender adults.
Successive waves of web-based cross-sectional surveys.
Setting: Canada, May 2020 to March 2021.
Participants: 6,016 adults (39 TGD, 2,980 cisgender men, 2,984 cisgender women, and 13 preferred not to answer), aged ≥18 years.
Measurements: Measures included self-reported HED (≥5 units on one or more occasions in the previous week for TGD and cisgender men and ≥4 for cisgender women) and any cannabis use in the previous week. Subjective changes in alcohol and cannabis use in the past week compared to before the pandemic were measured on a five-point Likert scale (1: much less to 5: much more). Binary and ordinal logistic regressions quantified differences between TGD and cisgender participants in alcohol and cannabis use, controlling for age, ethnoracial background, marital status, education, geographic location, and living arrangement.
Compared to cisgender participants, TGD participants were more likely to use cannabis (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=3.78, 95%CI: 1.89, 7.53) and to have reported subjective increases in alcohol (adjusted proportional odds ratios (aPOR)= 2.00, 95%CI: 1.01, 3.95) and cannabis use (aPOR=4.56, 95%CI: 2.13, 9.78) relative to before the pandemic. Compared to cisgender women, TGD participants were more likely to use cannabis (aOR=4.43, 95%CI: 2.21, 8.87) and increase their consumption of alcohol (aPOR=2.05, 95%CI: 1.03, 4.05) and cannabis (aPOR=4.71, 95%CI: 2.18, 10.13). Compared to cisgender men, TGD participants were more likely to use cannabis (aOR=3.20, 95%CI: 1.60, 6.41) and increase their use of cannabis (aPOR=4.40, 95%CI: 2.04, 9.49). There were no significant differences in HED between TGD and cisgender participants and in subjective change in alcohol between TGD and cisgender men; however, the odds ratios were greater than one as expected.
Increased alcohol and cannabis use among TGD populations compared to before the pandemic may lead to increased health disparities. Accordingly, programs targeting the specific needs of TGD individuals should be prioritized.