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Adolescent precursors of cannabis dependence: findings from the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study

  • Carolyn Coffey (a1), John B. Carlin (a2), Michael Lynskey (a3), Ning Li (a4) and George C. Patton (a5)...
Abstract
Background

Dependence increases the likelihood of adverse consequences of cannabis use, but its aetiology is poorly understood.

Aims

To examine adolescent precursors of young-adult cannabis dependence.

Method

Putative risk factors were measured in a representative sample (n=2032) of secondary students in the State of Victoria, Australia, six times between 1992 and 1995. Cannabis dependence was assessed in 1998, at age 20–21 years.

Results

Of 1601 young adults, 115 met criteria for cannabis dependence. Male gender (OR=2.6, P < 0.01), regular cannabis use (weekly: OR=4.9; daily: OR=4.6, P=0.02), persistent antisocial behaviour (linear effect P=0.03) and persistent cigarette smoking (linear effect P=0.02) independently predicted cannabis dependence. Neither smoking severity (P=0.83) nor persistent psychiatric morbidity (linear effect P=0.26) independently predicted dependence. Regular cannabis use increased risk only in the absence of persistent problematic alcohol use.

Conclusions

Weekly cannabis use marks a threshold for increased risk of later dependence, with selection of cannabis in preference to alcohol possibly indicating an early addiction process.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Ms Carolyn Coffey, Centre for Adolescent Health, 2 Gatehouse Street, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia. Tel: 3 9345 6538; fax: 3 9345 6502; e-mail: carolyn.coffey@rch.org.au
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Adolescent precursors of cannabis dependence: findings from the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study

  • Carolyn Coffey (a1), John B. Carlin (a2), Michael Lynskey (a3), Ning Li (a4) and George C. Patton (a5)...
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