Despite the recent research that shows potential negative consequences of marijuana use, use among young adults continues to increase. Protective behavioral strategies (PBS) are commonly studied as potential ways to mitigate harmful substance use, but cannabis specific PBS are not well understood. A recent study aimed to change this.
In this study, 54 young adult cannabis users participated in focus groups discussing their use of PBS. The participants were also asked to generate their own new PBS that either they had used or had heard of others using. The results of these focus groups showed that students used several PBS to cut back or abstain from marijuana use. These included scheduling/rationing use, alternative activities, focusing on values and goals, seeking help, avoiding high-risk situations, focusing on spirituality, and strategies to limit use. The study showed that use of any of these PBS, as well as unique PBS created by participants, was negatively correlated to marijuana use. The degree of this impact was affected by the perceived helpfulness of each PBS.
This study used qualitative and quantitative data to show that PBS use can be effective in cutting down or abstaining from marijuana use in young adult users.
Take Away: Use of protective behavioral strategies can reduce marijuana use in young adults.