Background Cannabis use is associated with mental health problems, and young people in particular are at risk.
Aims To investigate the association between cannabis use and mental health in adolescence.
Method Data from 5551 adolescents aged 12–16 years were drawn from the Dutch Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children school survey, carried out aspart of the international 2001 World Health Organization project.
Results After adjusting for confounding factors, cannabis use was linked to externalising problems (delinquent and aggressive behaviour) but not to internalising problems (withdrawn behaviour, somatic complaints and depression). An increasing frequency of use resulted in stronger links. No significant gender or age by cannabis interaction effects were found.
Conclusions In a country with a liberal drug policy like The Netherlands, cannabis use is associated with aggression and delinquency, just as in other countries. Cannabis use was not associated with internalising problems. Alcohol use and regular smoking were strong confounding factors.
- © 2006 Royal College of Psychiatrists