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, 51 (13), 1760-70

Definitions of Risky and Problematic Cannabis Use: A Systematic Review


Definitions of Risky and Problematic Cannabis Use: A Systematic Review

Cristina Casajuana et al. Subst Use Misuse.


Although cannabis is widely used, it remains unclear which consumption patterns are more likely to produce future consequences (risky/hazardous use) or current damage (problematic/harmful use). This unresolved issue contributes to cannabis public health implications. In order to facilitate further consensus, this review analyzes previously used definitions in the literature.

Methods: This systematic review was performed following the PRISMA guidelines. Articles published before October 2015 in the Medline, Scopus-Elsevier, ISI-Web of Knowledge and Cochrane databases and fulfilling a-priori decided criteria were retrieved. Definitions in preselected websites of national and international organizations addressing drug problems were also included.

Results: Definitions identified in articles (n = 46) and official websites (n = 3) widely varied from each other. Weekly cannabis use was mostly considered risky. Problematic cannabis use was mostly described with the Cannabis Abuse and Screening Test. Evidence-based definitions as well as information on quantities consumed, time-frames and special considerations for risky groups were very limited.

Conclusions: Working on official definitions is highly necessary as criteria used remain incomplete, leading to increased confusion in the field. Recommendations to improve existing definitions are given.

Keywords: Cannabis; problematic use; risky use.

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