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A qualitative exploration of the psychosocial risk factors, experiences and implications of cannabis use amongst young men

Nelson, Scott (2014) A qualitative exploration of the psychosocial risk factors, experiences and implications of cannabis use amongst young men. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to examine young men’s experiences of recreational cannabis use in order to gain an understanding of why they choose to smoke cannabis despite the widely reported risks, their perception of relevant risk factors and how they justify their actions in relation to broader social frameworks. Following an extensive literature review, it was evident that a large proportion of quantitative research focussed on associated risk factors, therefore ignoring the importance of rational choice and agency relating to cannabis consumption and providing a shallow understanding of why cannabis is so popular amongst this particular group. The research therefore utilised semi-structured interviews in order to gain accounts from six men, aged 18-24. Three themes were subsequently developed using thematic analysis, and considered within a social constructionist theoretical framework: resisting the ‘druggy’ stereotype, peer influence and the relational implications and looking towards the future. Through consideration of positioning theory (Davies and Harré, 1990), the research illustrated the necessity for young men to construct identities based on responsible consumption of cannabis in order to make their actions intelligible within relative cultural contexts, therefore justifying their actions as rational despite awareness of the potential negative consequences of their cannabis use.

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