Background: This study investigated the factors associated with initiating cannabis use, reverting to cannabis use and remaining a cannabis user in young adulthood. This is an important area of research as the risk for cannabis initiation is extending beyond adolescence and opportunities to influence cannabis use pathways can emerge throughout the life-course. Methods: A large, community-based sample was followed prospectively. Data from two successive waves (mean age 23 years and 27 years respectively) of the Path Through Life Study (PATH) were analysed (n= 2045). The longitudinal design enabled change in cannabis use in young adulthood to be predicted based on factors assessed approximately four years prior. Results: An environment of licit drug use was strongly associated with initiating cannabis use (tobacco: OR. = 4.98, 95%CI: 2.31-10.76) and reverting to cannabis use in young adulthood (alcohol: OR. = 2.13, 95%CI: 1.42-3.19). Greater fun seeking was found to orientate people towards initiating cannabis use in young adulthood (OR. = 1.17, 95%CI: 1.04-1.30). Higher psychoticism increased the odds of remaining a cannabis user (OR. = 1.19, 95%CI: 1.07-1.33). Religious involvement was protective of cannabis initiation (OR. = 0.89, 95%CI: 0.83-0.95). Early childhood factors did not influence the pattern of cannabis use in young adulthood. Conclusions: The findings make an important contribution to the development of prevention and intervention strategies for young adults by drawing attention to specific areas of risk and protection.
- Cannabis use
- Young adults