The Journey Through Cannabis Use

A qualitative study of the experiences of young adults with psychosis

Helen E. Childs, Simon McCarthy-Jones*, Georgina Rowse, Graham Turpin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The present study explored the personal experiences of cannabis and psychosis among young adults, including the reasons and meanings of cannabis use and the perceived relationship between cannabis and mental health. Interviews with seven young adults with psychosis who described regular current or past cannabis use were conducted and analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four master themes emerged: The Journey Through Cannabis Use, The Social and Cultural World, The Struggle to Make Sense, and The Depths and Beyond. Respondent validation supported these themes, particularly the idea of cannabis use as a journey that changed in time. Social and cultural factors clearly influenced the initiation of and decision whether to continue using cannabis. Individuals could simultaneously hold positive and negative views on using cannabis. Implications for clinical interventions are explored, and the relevance of motivational interviewing and the stages of change models of behavior change are noted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-708
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011


  • Cannabis
  • psychosis
  • qualitative
  • young adults

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