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Mental health of teenagers who use cannabis: Results of an Australian survey

  • Joseph M. Rey (a1), Michael G. Sawyer (a2), Beverley Raphael (a3), George C. Patton (a4) and Michael Lynskey (a5)...

There is concern in the community about increasing cannabis use and its potential effect on health.


To ascertain the prevalence of cannabis use among Australian adolescents, associations with mental health problems, risk behaviours and service use.


Examination of data from a national representative sample of households comprising 1261 adolescents aged 13–17 years. Parents completed a psychiatric interview and questionnaires while adolescents completed questionnaires.


One-quarter of the adolescents in the sample had used cannabis. There were no gender differences. Use increased rapidly with age, was more common in adolescents living with a sole parent and was associated with increased depression, conduct problems and health risk behaviours (smoking, drinking) but not with higher use of services.


Cannabis use is very prevalent. The association with depression, conduct problems, excessive drinking and use of other drugs shows a malignant pattern of comorbidity that may lead to negative outcomes.

Corresponding author
Joseph M. Rey, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Sydney, Coral Tree Family Service, PO Box 142, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia. e-mail:
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Declaration of interest

The Commonwealth of Australia funded the survey.

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Mental health of teenagers who use cannabis: Results of an Australian survey

  • Joseph M. Rey (a1), Michael G. Sawyer (a2), Beverley Raphael (a3), George C. Patton (a4) and Michael Lynskey (a5)...
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