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The Journey Through Cannabis Use: A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Young Adults With Psychosis

Childs, Helen E. DClinPsy; McCarthy-Jones, Simon PhD; Rowse, Georgina DClinPsy; Turpin, Graham PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: September 2011 - Volume 199 - Issue 9 - p 703-708
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318229d6bd
Original Articles

The present study explored the personal experiences of cannabis and psychosis among young adults, including the reasons and meanings of cannabis use and the perceived relationship between cannabis and mental health. Interviews with seven young adults with psychosis who described regular current or past cannabis use were conducted and analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four master themes emerged: The Journey Through Cannabis Use, The Social and Cultural World, The Struggle to Make Sense, and The Depths and Beyond. Respondent validation supported these themes, particularly the idea of cannabis use as a journey that changed in time. Social and cultural factors clearly influenced the initiation of and decision whether to continue using cannabis. Individuals could simultaneously hold positive and negative views on using cannabis. Implications for clinical interventions are explored, and the relevance of motivational interviewing and the stages of change models of behavior change are noted.

Department of Psychology University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Send reprint requests to Simon McCarthy-Jones, PhD, Clinical Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.