Can I use marijuana safely? An examination of distal antecedents, marijuana protective behavioral strategies, and marijuana outcomes


Objective: Given the high prevalence of marijuana use among college students, it is imperative to determine the factors that may reduce risk of problematic marijuana use and/or the development of cannabis use disorder. We examined marijuana protective behavioral strategies (PBS) as a proximal predictor of marijuana-related outcomes and a mediator of the associations between other known risk/protective factors and marijuana-related outcomes. Method: Using data from a sample of 2,129 past-month marijuana users, collected from 11 universities in the United States, we examined marijuana PBS use as a mediator of the effects of sex, age at first use, impulsivity-like traits, and marijuana use motives on marijuana use frequency and marijuana related consequences. Results: Marijuana PBS was identified as a robust negative predictor of marijuana use frequency and marijuana-related consequences. Further, Marijuana PBS use fully or partially mediated the effects of sex, premeditation, perseverance, coping motives, enhancement motives, conformity motives, and expansion motives on marijuana outcomes. Conclusions: Our results suggest that marijuana PBS use is a good candidate to be considered as a mechanism by which marijuana users moderate their marijuana use and attenuate their risk of experiencing marijuana-related consequences.

Publication Title

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs