Cannabis use amongst students attending an alternative provision in the United Kingdom

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For reasons explored within the paper, adolescents excluded from mainstream education are more likely to use cannabis regularly. Research into the cannabis use (CU) of adolescents excluded from mainstream school in the United Kingdom (UK) is limited and seldom focuses on what students perceive as effective support. In this exploratory study, information from 55 students attending an alternative provision (AP) in the North West of England was gathered via electronic survey. Questions were asked about patterns of student CU, motivations for use, perceived impact on mental health and educational outcomes, and effective support. Current users reported CU was motivated by enhancement and coping motives, while conformity motives were less significant than expected. Past users endorsed coping motives less than expected. Support of trusted adults was perceived as the most effective support strategy. Findings are explored in relation to discussions with key staff prior to and after the survey. These reflect previous research into adolescent CU motives, and the positive impact of school connectedness on student CU. Recommendations include early intervention for high-risk youth based on accurate identification of CU motives. Staff should focus on building trusting relationships with students as a platform to support the management of adolescent CU.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPastoral Care in Education
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2024


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