The perceived health risks of cannabis use in an Australian household survey

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2012 Sep;31(6):809-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00421.x. Epub 2012 Mar 4.


Introduction and aims: Perceived risks of cannabis use have rarely been researched in Australia. This paper reports on the beliefs about the adverse effects of cannabis use on health, social well-being, driving, mental health and changes in cannabis over time.

Design and methods: Survey of 918 Australian adults was conducted as part of a quarterly omnibus self-report survey of an established panel.

Results: Respondents believed that cannabis use can cause health and social problems, can adversely affect a person's ability to drive a car, can be addictive, and can lead to use of other illicit drugs. They were uncertain as to whether cannabis can cause schizophrenia and depression, and whether cannabis had become more potent over time.

Implications: Prevention efforts should focus on educating the Australian people about the nature of cannabis-related harms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cannabis
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys* / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Behavior
  • Young Adult