Motives for cannabis use: a predictive study with a Portuguese sample
Background and aims: Epidemiological studies indicate that cannabis is the most prevalent illicit drug in the US and European countries. Specific studies on its determinants are essential for understanding this phenomenon, its intervention and prevention. In the present study, we intend to explore the role of motives for cannabis use. Recent studies have pointed to the role of consumption motives, so it is important, in a European context, and in a national context, to explore differences in the different motives for cannabis use, particularly among consumers. Methods: A sociodemographic questionnaire, a Cannabis Motives Questionnaire (Simons, Correia, Carey, & Borsari, 1998) and the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test (Legleye, Karila, Beck & Reynaud, 2007) were used in a sample of 172 cannabis users, aged from 16 to 35 years (M=23.653, DP=4.168), mostly males (57.6%), and workers (50.3%), with school level ranging from basic to master degree studies (Mdn = Higher Education). Results: From the users, 76.2% used cannabis in the last year, 56.5% used in the last month and 51.8% used cannabis in the last week, 26.2% with moderate and 7.8% with high risk of cannabis abuse in CAST measure. First experience with cannabis was described from 12 to 27 years (M= 16,43, DP=2.499) with the most frequent motive to be personal enhancement (M = 2.792, DP= 1.189) followed by expansion (M=2.542, DP=1.273). Motives to use cannabis was independent of age, occupation and education. They were different from gender and related to cannabis experience and problematic use of cannabis. In particular, enhancement and coping motives were significative predictors of cannabis problematic use (R2 = .237). Conclusions: Results are in line of the literature, highlighting the determinant role of cannabis motives in the use of this substance. Considering motives to use cannabis, enhancing motives was the most relevant, information that must be considered in intervention but specially in cannabis prevention programs.