Normative Misperceptions About Cannabis Use in a Sample of Risky Cannabis Users


This study examines normative misperceptions in a sample of participants recruited for a brief intervention trial targeting risky cannabis use.


Participants who were concerned about their own risky cannabis use were recruited to help develop and evaluate intervention materials. At baseline, participants reported on their own cannabis use and provided estimates of how often others their gender and age used cannabis in the past 3 months. Comparisons were made between participants estimates of others cannabis use with reports of cannabis use obtained from a general population survey conducted during a similar time period.


Participants (N = 744, mean age = 35.8, 56.2% identified as female) largely reported daily or almost daily cannabis use (82.4%). Roughly half (55.3%) of participants estimated that others their age and gender used cannabis weekly or more often in the past 3 months, whereas the majority of people in the general population reported not using cannabis at all.


Normative misperceptions about cannabis use were common in this sample of people with risky cannabis use. Limitations and possible future directions of this research are discussed, as well as the potential for targeting these misperceptions in interventions designed to motivate reductions in cannabis use.

Clinicaltrialsorg number:



Canada; Cannabis; Internet Intervention; normative misperceptions.

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