Maltreated girls are more likely to use cannabis before age 15

Childhood maltreatment is a known risk factor for cannabis initiation, and a study of female twins indicates that maltreatment is associated with cannabis initiation before age 15.

By Kate Phillipa Clark

A  study from Washington University in the U.S. examines cannabis initiation and use in a group of European-American and African-American twins. Telephone interviews were conducted with 3786 participants in a population-based study of female twins. The study showed that childhood maltreatment was significantly associated with increased likelihood of cannabis initiation before age 15 in both European-American and African-American women. However, an increased likelihood of later initiation was among European-American only. Maltreatment was associated with cannabis problems among both groups.

Major contributor

The researchers concluded that childhood maltreatment is a major contributor to early initiation of cannabis as well as progression to cannabis problems in both European-American and African-American women. Distinctions by ethnicity was not found to be genetic, but in the type of environmental influences that contribute to stages of cannabis involvement.

About the Author

Kate Phillipa Clark

Kate Phillipa Clark has a bachelor in Journalism and an Executive Master in Corporate Communication. She is an identical twin and so is her father.


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