Frequent Adolescent Cannabis use Epidemiology: Antecedents and Outcomes

  • Hines, Lindsey A (Principal Investigator)

Project Details


Cannabis policy decisions are hampered by lack of evidence on consequences of use, and although frequent cannabis use is an increasingly important intervention target we know little about what factors determine frequency of use (and thus likelihood of related harm) in adolescence: a key period of focus for life-course health. This presents an urgent need to understand risk factors for frequent adolescent cannabis use, and to understand the role cannabis plays in mental health disorder development.
Adverse childhood experiences are a consistent correlate of adolescent cannabis use and dependence, but the mechanisms underlying the association are under-explored. Risks for adult anxiety and depression, the largest contributors to the mental health global burden of disease, increase with frequent adolescent cannabis use. However, these associations are not consistent. Consideration of factors on the causal pathway is necessary to gain a complete understanding of this relationship.
Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the Victoria Adolescent Health Cohort Study (VAHCS), this project aims to
1. Explore how adverse childhood experiences are associated with frequent adolescent cannabis use
2. Identify pathways between frequent adolescent cannabis use and adult CMD

Layman's description

Across the world, cannabis is increasingly available as a legal drug, and we can expect use amongst adolescents to increase. Frequent cannabis use at this age increases the likelihood of health harms, including depression and anxiety in adulthood. This project uses interview data collected at multiple times in participants’ lives, from childhood onwards, in order to understand
what causes frequent use of cannabis in adolescence, and what the relationship is between adolescent cannabis use and adult mental health.
This project explores the extent to which early life stress can be said to cause frequent adolescent cannabis use, and how much this relationship is due to the early-adolescent behaviour and mental health of frequent users. It then considers the relationship between frequent adolescent cannabis use and depression/anxiety, exploring the extent to which an association between these is due to low employment, drug use and heavy alcohol use in the years following early adolescence.
StatusNot started


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