Home > Psychosocial determinants of cannabis dependence: a systematic review of the literature.

Schlossarek, S and Kempkensteffen, J and Reimer, J and Verthein, U (2016) Psychosocial determinants of cannabis dependence: a systematic review of the literature. European Addiction Journal, 22, (3), DOI:10.1159/000441777.

External website: http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/441777

Background: Many studies have examined factors associated with the first onset of cannabis use and abuse. Currently, there is relatively little research regarding conditions under which cannabis dependence is more likely to emerge. Although previous studies have examined different potential determinants of cannabis dependence, to our knowledge, a systematic review is lacking. Aims: The study aims to identify recent findings regarding psychosocial determinants of cannabis dependence and to summarize them systematically.


Methods: A literature search in 4 databases - Embase, Medline, PsycINFO and PSYNDEX - was conducted. Searches were limited to publications between 2000 and April 2014, English and German as languages and humans as study subjects.


Results: Our search detected a total of 10,568 studies. Twenty-six studies finally met inclusion criteria. Consumption patterns such as a regular cannabis use independent of social context and an early onset of use (11-15 years) were correlates of cannabis dependence. Moreover, early reactions to cannabis use and coping-oriented use motives explained additional variance. Stress factors and critical life events such as parental separation and early parental death as well as mental and social conflicts have also been linked with development of cannabis dependence. Additionally, comorbid mental disorders correlated with cannabis dependence.


Conclusion: Numerous factors were shown to have an impact on transition to cannabis dependence. In particular, a wide range of mental disorders has been linked to an elevated risk of becoming dependent. The development of a dependence syndrome seems to be associated with diverse processes, in which social, biological and intra-individual factors interact in a complex manner. Nevertheless, the link between cannabis dependence and predisposing factors could not be resolved convincingly by most studies due to methodological weaknesses regarding dependence criteria. (© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel)

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