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Addict Behav. 2008 Mar;33(3):397-411. Epub 2007 Oct 16.

The occurrence of cannabis use disorders and other cannabis-related problems among first-year college students.

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University of Maryland College Park, Center for Substance Abuse Research, 4321 Hartwick Road, Suite 501, College Park, MD 20740, USA.


This study reports the prevalence of cannabis use disorders (CUD) and other cannabis-related problems in a large cohort (n=1253) of first-year college students, 17 to 20 years old, at one large public university in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Interviewers assessed past-year cannabis use, other drug use, and cannabis-related problems (including DSM-IV criteria for CUD). The prevalence of CUD was 9.4%(wt) among all first-year students and 24.6% among past-year cannabis users (n=739). Of those endorsing any CUD criteria, 33.8% could be classified as diagnostic orphans. Among 474 "at-risk" cannabis users (>or= 5 times in the past year), concentration problems (40.1%), driving while high (18.6%) and missing class (13.9%) were among the most prevalent cannabis-related problems, even among those who endorsed no CUD criteria. Placing oneself at risk for physical injury was also commonly reported (24.3%). A significant proportion of cannabis-using college students meet diagnostic criteria for disorder. Even in the absence of disorder, users appear to be at risk for potentially serious cannabis-related problems. Implications for prevention, service delivery, and future research are discussed.

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