Objective: This study examines reasons for marijuana use among young adults age 19/20 in the United States and the extent to which patterns of reasons are associated with marijuana use and problems 15 years later.
Method: The national Monitoring the Future study provided data on marijuana users at age 19/20 who were also surveyed at age 35 (n = 2,288; 50% women; 83% White). Latent class analysis was used to identify distinct patterns of reasons for marijuana use, which were then used as predictors of later marijuana use and problems.
Results: Five latent classes described the following patterns of reasons for marijuana use at age 19/20: Experimental, Get High + Relax, Typical, Typical + Escape, and Coping + Drug Use. Highest risk for later marijuana use and problems was found for people with Coping + Drug Use and Get High + Relax reasons in young adulthood; those with Experimental reasons were at lowest risk for later use or problems.
Conclusions: Coping and getting high emerged as strong predictors of later marijuana use and problems. Results support the predictive value of self-reported reasons for using marijuana among young adults.