Self-reported reasons for voluntary abstinences by adolescent cannabis users

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

Factors influencing cannabis use have been previously identified mainly using multivariate approaches. However, there is a dearth of information collected from the perspective of the adolescent cannabis user, in particular for voluntary abstinences. Thus the present study aimed to collect this information from adolescent cannabis users.  38 cannabis users were identified from a sample of 261 adolescents recruited from schools. They completed open- ended questions identifying reasons for voluntary abstinences. Thematic analysis was used to assess their responses. It was found that voluntary abstinences by cannabis users were influenced by both internal and external factors. These were; the user’s state of mind, an attempt to quit, negative effects of cannabis, prior to important events, prior to family interactions and peers. The results provide useful insight into previously unidentified reasons for voluntary abstinences in adolescent cannabis users. This information has potential for use in cognitive based interventions that utilise motivations for substance use. However, the small sample size warrants a need for further in depth qualitative analysis of the reasons for periods of voluntary abstinences that are salient to adolescent users. These will further inform prevention and early intervention efforts aimed at adolescent cannabis users.


Dr Hermine Graham School of Psychology University of Birmingham Edgbaston B15 2TT

Conflicts of interest:

Funding Sources: N/A

No conflict of interest


Download the presentation

Download the full presentation here

Dr Blessing Marandure