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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2001 August;53(4):313-24

language: English

Marijuana use among adolescents: trends, patterns, and influences

Thompson K. M.


This article reviews current marijuana conditions, trends, and influences among adolescents. Data show that prevalence rates vary markedly among youth, showing higher usage rates in the United States and Western Europe and lower rates among Mediterranean and Scandinavian youth. Urianalysis studies show that American juvenile arrestees are testing positive for cannabis at increasing rates. Influences that are central to marijuana use include being older, being male, experiencing family conflict, having peer models for use, and suffering from mood and anxiety disorders. More information is needed on how much gene-based evolutionary traits are relevant to marijuana abuse. Criticisms of school-based drug education programs have lead to the emergence of more comprehensive and enduring prevention programs. Concern about rising levels of marijuana abuse, lack of accountability, and dual diagnoses have given rise to juvenile drug courts. Preliminary reports suggest that these two strategies could show promise in reducing marijuana use and abuse, although rising THC yields could counteract these efforts.

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