A new study has pinpointed the three main risk factors which influence why some teenagers experiment with marijuana and why this experimentation can move on to regular use of the drug.
Researchers looked at over 13,000 young people, aged 11 - 21, who were already taking part in a study on adolescent health. The students were followed up over a one-year period.
The researchers based their findings on five stages of marijuana use; (1) initiation of experimental use, (2) initiation of regular use, (3) progression to regular use, (4) failure to discontinue experimental use, (5) failure to discontinue regular use.
They found that in all five stages, there were three main risk factors; involvement with other substances, such as alcohol and cigarettes, delinquency and school problems.
"These risk factors were the strongest predictors of all stages. Their combined presence greatly increased risk of initiation of experimental and regular marijuana use", the researchers said.
They believe that assessment of these three main risk factors is important 'in identifying individuals at high risk for continued involvement with marijuana'.
"Prevention and/or intervention efforts should focus on these areas of risk", they add.
The study was carried out by researchers at Cardiff University in Wales and the American National Institutes of Health. Details are published in the journal, Archives of General Psychiatry.
I think that any mood alterating drug has to be treated with suspicion.