Mr Sam Craft

User characteristics of high versus low potency adolescent cannabis users

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. King’s College, London

Aims: To examine user characteristics of high and low potency cannabis use in a general adolescent population sample

Method: 364 cannabis using and non-using adolescent (Mean 16yrs, 62.5% females) from 5 further education colleges in London completed a self-report questionnaire which assessed cannabis use type, preference, frequency, motives for use and personality.

Results: Controlling for age, gender and socio-economic status adolescents who scored high in Sensation Seeking were more likely to report cannabis use compared to non-users (Adjusted OR: 1.14, CI: 1.06  –  1.24). Low potency cannabis users (n =57; AOR: 1.14 CI: 1.03  –  1.26) and mixed low and high potency users (n = 31; AOR: 1.29 CI: 1.12  –  1.50) but not high-potency only users (n = 30) were more likely to score high in SS than non-cannabis users. Participants who reported using multiple types of cannabis (i.e. high and low potency) were more likely to report using cannabis to ‘ expand their awareness ‘ relative to both low potency (AOR: 1.21 CI: 1.04  –  1.41) and high-potency users (AOR: 1.30, CI: 1.08  –  1.57). Whilst cannabis users who used only high-potency cannabis were more likely to report conformity as a reason for use relative to multiple cannabis users (AOR: 1.34 CI: 1.03  –  1.74). Furthermore, frequent high-potency users (i.e. > monthly) were more likely to report using cannabis to cope with problems compared to infrequent users of any type (AOR: 1.03 CI: 1.02  –  1.62).

Conclusions: These results have significant clinical and educational implications for the prevention of cannabis use in young people.


Dr. Clare Mackie, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. King’s College, London