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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2017 Mar;78(2):203-212.

Can I Use Marijuana Safely? An Examination of Distal Antecedents, Marijuana Protective Behavioral Strategies, and Marijuana Outcomes.

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Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.



Given the high prevalence of marijuana use among college students, it is imperative to determine the factors that may reduce risk of problematic marijuana use and/or the development of cannabis use disorder. We examined marijuana protective behavioral strategies (PBS) as a proximal predictor of marijuana-related outcomes and a mediator of the associations between other known risk/protective factors and marijuana-related outcomes.


Using data from a sample of 2,129 past-month marijuana users, collected from 11 universities in the United States, we examined marijuana PBS use as a mediator of the effects of sex, age at first use, impulsivity-like traits, and marijuana use motives on marijuana use frequency and marijuana related consequences.


Marijuana PBS was identified as a robust negative predictor of marijuana use frequency and marijuana-related consequences. Further, Marijuana PBS use fully or partially mediated the effects of sex, premeditation, perseverance, coping motives, enhancement motives, conformity motives, and expansion motives on marijuana outcomes.


Our results suggest that marijuana PBS use is a good candidate to be considered as a mechanism by which marijuana users moderate their marijuana use and attenuate their risk of experiencing marijuana-related consequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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