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New Perspectives on Marijuana and Youth: Abstainers Are Not Maladjusted, but Lone Users Face Difficulties

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2008
5 pages

This study examined outcomes for youth who use marijuana.


Results indicate that marijuana abstainers do well, solitary users do poorly, and kids who use marijuana only in social settings are in between. Findings show that youth who abstained from marijuana through the last year of high school were not socially or emotionally troubled, and had better outcomes as young adults. Findings also indicate that solitary substance use is not uncommon among youth, but that young solitary users are an overlooked at-risk group who face a range of psychosocial and behavioral difficulties as teens and young adults. This insight should help the drug-prevention community put into perspective the conflicting conclusions from prior studies about marijuana use and its consequences. This research also documents the wide range of psychosocial and behavioral difficulties that lone substance users, as opposed to strictly social users, face as teens and young adults. Findings suggest that drug-prevention programs should pay closer attention to this at-risk group of young people.

Date Published: February 1, 2008