Aggressive Behavior and Cannabis Use

W. Liu, Hannos Petras

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Motivated by the large public health impact of aggressive behavior and cannabis use, we reviewed the international empirical literature to assess the evidence for supporting either the cooccurrence hypothesis or the directional hypothesis (ie, aggressive behavior leading to cannabis use, or cannabis use leading to aggressive behavior). Support for any of these hypotheses has implications for preventive interventions targeting either the underlying causes of both behaviors, or by specifically targeting one of these behaviors as a risk factor for the other. Despite the theoretical and empirical evidence supporting a positive association between early childhood aggressive behavior and cannabis use later in life, the causal relationship remains unsupported. In addition, inconsistent results were found for the interrelationship between these two behaviors during adolescence. We cited several study characteristics as plausible culprits for these inconsistent results, and suggested future research efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies
Subtitle of host publicationBiology, Pharmacology, Diagnosis, and Treatment
PublisherElsevier Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9780128008270
ISBN (Print)9780128007563
StatePublished - Jan 24 2017


  • Aggressive and disruptive behavior
  • Cannabis use
  • Causality
  • Cooccurrence
  • Directionality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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