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Marijuana use from adolescence to adulthood: developmental trajectories and their outcomes

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Abstract

Background

The study assesses the degree to which individuals in different trajectories of marijuana use are similar or different in terms of unconventional behavior, sensation seeking, emotional dysregulation, nicotine dependence, alcohol dependence/abuse, children living at home, and spouse/partner marijuana use at age 43.

Method

This study used a longitudinal design. The sample participants (N = 548) were first studied at mean age 14 and last studied at mean age 43.

Results

Six trajectories of marijuana use were identified: chronic/heavy users (3.6 %), increasing users (5.1 %), chronic/occasional users (20 %), decreasers (14.3 %), quitters (22.5 %), and nonusers/experimenters (34.5 %). With three exceptions, as compared with being a nonuser/experimenter, a higher probability of belonging to the chronic/heavy, the increasing, or the chronic/occasional user trajectory group was significantly associated with a greater likelihood of unconventional behavior, sensation seeking, emotional dysregulation, nicotine dependence, alcohol dependence/abuse, not having children who lived at home, and having a spouse/partner who used marijuana at early midlife. In addition, compared with being a quitter, a higher probability of belonging to the chronic/heavy user trajectory group was significantly associated with a higher likelihood of unconventional behavior, sensation seeking, emotional dysregulation, alcohol dependence/abuse, and spouse/partner marijuana use. Implications for intervention are presented.

Conclusions

Trajectories of marijuana use, especially chronic/heavy use, increasing use, and chronic/occasional use, are associated with unconventional behavior, sensation seeking, emotional dysregulation, nicotine dependence, alcohol dependence/abuse, having children who lived at home, and spouse/partner marijuana use at age 43. The importance of the findings for prevention and treatment programs are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by NIH Grants DA003188 and DA032603 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded to Dr. Judith S. Brook.

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Correspondence to Judith S. Brook.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

J. S. Brook, C. Zhang, C. G. Leukefeld, and D. W. Brook have no involvement in any organization or entity with a direct financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript.

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Brook, J.S., Zhang, C., Leukefeld, C.G. et al. Marijuana use from adolescence to adulthood: developmental trajectories and their outcomes. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 51, 1405–1415 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-016-1229-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-016-1229-0

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