Why do youth use cannabis?
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One of the main reasons youth and teens will use a substance is peer pressure. It’s important to know that peer pressure can on take different forms. In some cases, it may result from their peers directly telling them they “should” use cannabis, or “must” use cannabis to fit in. However, it may be indirect. Many youth have said that simply being around people who are using it, without being verbally pressured, still led them to feel pressure to use it.
Some of the most common reasons youth experiment with, or use, cannabis include:
- peer pressure (direct or implied)
- self-medication, coping method
- it’s become a normalized behaviour (e.g., legalizing it and seeing more people doing it makes it seem acceptable and normal)
- for fun
When it comes to the continued use of cannabis, it can be due to an addiction or dependency. Cannabis Use Disorder is a recognized disorder, where regular users find it difficult (or impossible) to stop using the substance. Many people experience negative symptoms when they try to stop using, including irritability, difficulties sleeping, trouble regulating mood, and restlessness.