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J Psychiatr Res. 2006 Aug;40(5):394-403. Epub 2005 Sep 15.

Dependence symptoms in young cannabis users? A prospective epidemiological study.

Author information

1
Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology, Kraepelinstrasse 2-10, 80804 Munich, Germany. nocon@mpipsykl.mpg.de

Abstract

AIM:

To examine prospectively over a period of 4 years the profile of cannabis dependence and the risk of specific dependence criteria in a community sample of adolescents.

METHODS:

A representative community sample of 2446 young adults aged 14-24 years at baseline was followed up over a period of 4 years. Frequency of use measures and of criteria for DSM-IV dependence were assessed by standardized diagnostic interview measures (CIDI). To explore the nature of this association, frequency of use and concomitant use of other psychoactive substances was considered.

RESULTS:

30% of the sample were cannabis users. Among all users 35% met at least one dependence criterion. Most frequently reported dependence criteria among all users were withdrawal (17%), tolerance (15%), loss of control (14%) and continued use despite a health problem (13%). Even without concomitant use of other illicit drugs, 22% of low frequency users and 81% of high frequency users met at least one dependence criterion. Symptom patterns were similar in high and low frequency users. The occurrence of a dependence syndrome or of specific dependence criteria could not be attributed to the use of other illicit drugs or to comorbid nicotine and alcohol dependence.

CONCLUSIONS:

Regular cannabis use in adolescence is associated with the development of a dependence syndrome. This association cannot be explained by the concomitant use of other illicit substances or by comorbid nicotine and alcohol dependence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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