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Cannabis Use & Cannabis Dependence


Selecting Data Set, Formulating Research Question & Hypothesis

I am interested to explore topics related to cannabis dependence after going through the codebook for the NESARC study, specifically I am interested to find out:

  1. the association between the level of cannabis use and cannabis disorders, i.e. how much and how frequent one takes cannabis before develop first incidence of cannabis disorder (cannabis abuse or cannabis dependence);
  2. whether the level of cannabis use is associated with the duration of cannabis disorder.

I hypothesized high level of cannabis use increases the risk of developing cannabis disorders, as well as the duration of episode of cannabis disorder.

From the NESARC dataset, I selected variables reflecting the level of cannabis use in terms of quantity and frequency, as well as data about whether an individual was diagnosed with cannabis abuse or dependence, the duration of cannabis abuse or dependence to my own codebook.

Literature review

I searched for relevant literatures on Google Scholar using search terms e.g. cannabis use, cannabis dependence, cannabis abuse, duration of cannabis disorder, marijuana use, marijuana dependence, marijuana abuse and duration of marijuana disorder.

Based on literature review conducted, there are different findings on the association between level of cannabis use and cannabis dependence. Chen et al. (1997) pointed out that frequency and quantity of use each had an effect on cannabis dependence with frequency of use showing stronger association. While Pol et al. (2013) concluded that concurrent problems are more important factors in predicting cannabis dependence than the level of use. No article was found on the relationship between level of cannabis use and duration of cannabis disorder.


  1. Kevin Chen, Denise B. Kandel, Mark Davies. 1997. Relationships between frequency and quantity of marijuana use and last year proxy dependence among adolescents and adults in the United States. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 46(1-2), 53-67. doi:10.1016/S0376-8716(97)00047-1
  2. Peggy van der Pol, Nienke Liebregts, Ron de Graaf, Dirk J. Korf, Wim van den Brink, Margriet van Larr. 2013. Predicting the transition from frequent cannabis use to cannabis dependence: A three-year prospective study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 133(2), 352-359. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.06.009

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