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A Latent Class analysis of cannabis use products in a general population sample of adolescents and their association with paranoia, hallucinations, cognitive disorganisation and grandiosity

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Original languageEnglish
Article number106837
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Published3 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funding: This study was supported by a grant awarded to C.J.M from King’s College London (170612). T.P.F was supported by a Senior Academic Fellowship from the Society for the Study of Addiction. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Adolescents have access to a wide range of cannabis products with patterns of use becoming increasingly diverse. This study aimed to identify subgroups of adolescents in the general population who use similar types of cannabis and their association with psychotic experiences. Data on cannabis use were obtained from 467 adolescents aged between 16 and 17 years. Latent class analysis (LCA) identified groups of adolescents based on the type of cannabis used in the past 12 months. Univariate analysis explored differences in socio-demographics, substance use and mental health symptoms between groups. Multivariate analysis examined associations between class membership and psychotic experiences controlling for frequency and amount of cannabis. Finally, we explored the association between motives for cannabis and class membership using multi-nominal logistic regression. LCA identified 3 classes of adolescents: (i) herbal only (47.9%); (ii) skunk only (20.8%) and (3) mixed use (31.3%). Relative to non-users, skunk only use was associated with a 2-fold increase in paranoia (OR = 2.45, 95% CI = 1.29–4.63), along with, sleep disturbance and anxiety. Monthly cannabis use and consuming 2 or more joints on one occasion was associated with a 2-fold increase in hallucinations (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.0–4.8 and OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.2–3.2), but did not reach the Bonferroni corrected p-value. Expansion and conformity motives differentiated the mixed cannabis class from the herbal only class. The findings suggest that different subgroups of cannabis users exist in adolescence as defined by the type of cannabis consumed and are differentially related to psychotic experiences and motives for use.

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