Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 43–52 | Cite as

Longitudinal Studies on the Etiology of Cannabis Use Disorder: A Review

  • Kelly E. Courtney
  • Margie Hernandez Mejia
  • Joanna JacobusEmail author
Cannabis (J Cousijn, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Cannabis


Purpose of Review

This review summarizes the literature to date that has capitalized on the longitudinal research study framework in order to elucidate the etiology of cannabis use disorders (CUDs).

Recent Findings

The studies are mixed with respect to reliable predictors of CUD development. Of the studies outlined, the most consistently indicated risk factors for CUD development include male sex, past cannabis and other substance use (especially tobacco), and the presence of pre/comorbid psychopathology (especially mood disorders). Social motives and peer involvement may also play a role in this transition. Many of these CUD risk factors appear to be distinct from other factors linked with overall cannabis use.


CUD development is likely the product of interactions between biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors. However, many more well-planned and developmentally sensitive prospective studies are needed to identify specific and reliable risk factors for CUD development.


Cannabis use Longitudinal studies Etiology of cannabis use disorder CUD 



This review was partially supported by the National Institutes of Health Grants 1KL2TR001444 of CTSA funding and T32AA013525 from NIAAA.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Kelly E. Courtney, Margie Hernandez Mejia, and Dr. Joanna Jacobus declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly E. Courtney
    • 1
  • Margie Hernandez Mejia
    • 1
  • Joanna Jacobus
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

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