Cannabis use as a means of socialization?: new consumption patterns among heavy users


Serval ID
Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
Publication sub-type
Abstract (Abstract): shot summary in a article that contain essentials elements presented during a scientific conference, lecture or from a poster.
Cannabis use as a means of socialization?: new consumption patterns among heavy users
Title of the conference
Society for Adolescent Medicine Annual Meeting, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, 26-29 March 2008
Akré Christina, Michaud Pierre-André, Berchtold André, Suris Joan Carles
Publication state
Issued date
Journal of Adolescent Health
Purpose: After tobacco and alcohol, cannabis is the most used substance among adolescents in Switzerland. Our aim is to assess whether cannabis use has become an ordinary means of socialization. We hypothesize that cannabis consumption has become a normative, although still illegal, behavior.
Methods: As part of a larger qualitative study aimed at assessing new ways [patterns] of cannabis consumption, 16 daily cannabis consumers (11 males) and 2 former heavy consumers (both females), aged 15 to 20 years, participated in interviews and focus groups. Data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Atlas.ti qualitative analysis software.
Results: Most consumers define the beginning of their consumption as a moment when they made new friends. They commonly use cannabis in group settings, which encourages the belief that all adolescents use cannabis. Thus, cannabis is mainly identified as an everyday social act. Joints are smoked like cigarettes: at all times of the day, during or after school or work with peers, often starting at lunch break, and mostly in public places. Friends offer a joint in a group setting, much like beer in a bar, as a means of making contact. Consumption invariably increases while socializing on vacation: "During vacation, we smoke up to 10-15 joints a day; at the end we're just dead." Additionally, in order to obtain cannabis, consumers have to be part of the right networks; they generally have several dealers to assure their supply, buy and sell themselves, or practice group-buying. As a result, all friends or acquaintances of consumers are themselves cannabis users. For instance, 4 boys, who say they are best friends, always smoke together and that, in order to quit, "All four of us should say to ourselves, 'Okay, now, let's all stop smoking'. That would be the only solution. . .but it would be impossible!" The 2 former consumers state that when they started using cannabis, "I found myself little by little in a vicious circle where I saw only people who also smoked". When they quit, they separated from their group of friends: "Either you make new friends who don't smoke or you smoke."
Conclusions: Discussions with consumers demonstrate a normative facet of cannabis consumption as part of teenage socialization. Consequently, cannabis consumers develop a significant dependency since a majority of their friends use cannabis and their consumption involves most of their daily social life. Our study highlights the need for clear messages about the harmful aspects of using this substance while also suggesting that cessation efforts should include helping users separate from their consumption milieu.
Sources of Support: Dept. of Public Health of the canton of Vaud.
Adolescent, Marijuana Smoking, Marijuana Smoking/psychology, Socialization, Switzerland
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Create date
03/03/2009 10:25
Last modification date
20/08/2019 15:36
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