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Br J Psychiatry. 2006 Feb;188:148-53.

Cannabis use and mental health in secondary school children. Findings from a Dutch survey.

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  • 1Trimbos Institute, PO Box 725, 3500 AS, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Cannabis use is associated with mental health problems, and young people in particular are at risk.


To investigate the association between cannabis use and mental health in adolescence.


Data from 5551 adolescents aged 12-16 years were drawn from the Dutch Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children school survey, carried out aspart of the international 2001 World Health Organization project.


After adjusting for confounding factors, cannabis use was linked to externalising problems (delinquent and aggressive behaviour) but not to internalising problems (withdrawn behaviour, somatic complaints and depression). An increasing frequency of use resulted in stronger links. No significant gender or age by cannabis interaction effects were found.


In a country with a liberal drug policy like The Netherlands, cannabis use is associated with aggression and delinquency, just as in other countries. Cannabis use was not associated with internalising problems. Alcohol use and regular smoking were strong confounding factors.

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