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Marijuana use linked to hallucinogen use

A study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provides the first epidemiological evidence that young marijuana smokers are substantially more likely than non-smokers to be presented with the opportunity to try hallucinogens. Once the opportunity for hallucinogen use occurs, marijuana smokers are more likely than non-smokers to actually try it. The study appears in the April issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

"Research in the past has focused on the causal relationships of drugs, but our study is the first to support the idea of two separate mechanisms linking marijuana and hallucinogen use -- that of increased opportunity and increased use once given the opportunity," says lead author Holly Wilcox, a doctoral candidate in the department of mental hygiene at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Insight into this area teaches us about mechanisms that might help guide new progress for prevention of drug problems."

For the investigation, the researchers used self-report data from more than 40,000 young participants in the 1991 to 1994 National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). From this data, they were able to extract information about the age at which young people first had the opportunity to use different drugs and the age at which they first tried them. They focused on the availability and use of two drugs: marijuana (cannabis, reefer, blunts, hash oil, or any other form of marijuana use) and hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline, mixed stimulant-hallucinogens, and PCP).

The results showed that by age 21, almost one-half of the teenagers who had smoked marijuana had a chance to try a hallucinogen, compared to only one in 16 of the teenagers who had never smoked marijuana. Within a time period of one year after the first chance to use a hallucinogen, two-thirds of marijuana smokers actually tried it, compared to only one in six of the teenagers who had never smoked mar
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Contact: Ming Tai or Tim Parsons
mtai@jhsph.edu
410-955-6878
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
10-Apr-2002


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