Examining Short-Term Changes in Mariujuana Use

Rashi Shukla, Rutgers University

Much of what is known about drug use and changes in drug use over time, comes from quantitative research studies of normal, high school and/or jail populations. Despite the significant contributions of these types of studies to the understanding of larger patterns of change in drug use involvement, less is known about the specific types of factors that lead to changes in drug use and the role decision-making plays in such changes.

This paper is based on a study that employed the rational choice theoretical perspective to examine the role of decision-making associated with changes in marijuana use/involvement over time. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted between 2000-2002 with a snowball sample of 50 subjects. Three categories of subjects were sampled: ex-users of marijuana (N = 21), social marijuana users (N=10) and regular marijuana users (N=19).

It is proposed that a reconsideration of the way drug status is measured and conceptualized is necessary to gain a better understanding of changes in drug use that occur over time. The types of patterns that can best be discovered through the examination of within-individual data will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006