Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 709–713 | Cite as

Fundamental Characteristics, Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Substance Use Focusing on Cannabis: Findings from the General Population Survey in Turkey, 2011

  • Zeynep KotanEmail author
  • Sevil Ozger Ilhan
  • Mustafa Necmi Ilhan
  • Zehra Arikan
Original Paper


Cannabis is the most prevalent illicit drug used in the world. We aimed to determine prevalence and some characteristics of cannabis use in Turkey. The study was based on a cross-sectional survey conducted with a nationally representative sample of 8045 individuals with in-house interviews. The life-time prevalence of substance use was found as 2.8%. Cannabis with 0.7% life-time prevalence, was the most commonly used substance. Cannabis users were concerned about some adverse outcomes such as anxiety with withdrawal (14%), losing control about using the drug (14%), daily performance problems (10.9%) and problems about interpersonal violence (6.9%). 35.1% of them wanted to quit and 18% regretted using cannabis. Prevalence of cannabis use is lower in Turkey compared with most of the other countries in the world. Nevertheless, it is a significant health concern. Identifying characteristics and attitudes related with cannabis use may help to improve policies about protective measures.


Substance Cannabis Prevalence Population 


Author Contributions

All the authors have substantially contributed to the preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.


  1. Akkaya, C., Akgoz, S., Kotan, Z., Kaya, B., & Kırlı, S. (2006). Illicit drug related crime profile in bursa between the years 1974–2003. Dusunen Adam The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences, 19(3), 124–130.Google Scholar
  2. Ashton, C. H. (2001). Pharmacology and effects of cannabis: a brief review. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 178(2), 101–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Babalola, E., Ogunwale, A., & Akinhanmi, A. (2013). Pattern of psychoactive substance use among university students in South-Western Nigeria. Journal of Behavioral Health, 2(4), 334–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chabrol, H., Roura, C., & Armitage, J. (2003). Bongs, a method of using cannabis linked to dependence. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 48(10), 709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clark, T. T., Doyle, O., & Clincy, A. (2013). Age of first cigarette, alcohol and marijuana use among U.S. biracial/ethnic youth: a population-based study. Addictive Behaviors, 38(9), 2450–2454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). (2015). European drug report 2015: trends and developments, 2014.
  7. European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). (2003). The 2003 ESPAD Report, 2003.Google Scholar
  8. Grant, B. F., Goldstein, R. B., Saha, T. D., Chou, S. P., Jung, J., Zhang, H., et al. (2015). Epidemiology of DSM-5 alcohol use disorder: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on alcohol and related conditions III. JAMA Psychiatry, 72(8), 757–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hall, W., & Degenhard, L. (2009). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet, 374, 1383-1391.Google Scholar
  10. Hughes, J. R., Naud, S., Budney, A. J., Fingar, J. R., & Callas, P. W. (2016). Attempts to stop or reduce daily cannabis use: An Intensive Natural History Study. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30(3), 389–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ilhan, I. O., Yildirim, F., Demirbas, H., & Dogan, Y. B. (2009). Prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of substance use in a university-student sample in Turkey. International Journal of Public Health, 54(1), 40–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ilhan, M. N. (2012). Report on General Population Survey of Attitudes and Behaviors Towards the Use of Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs in Turkey, 2012.Google Scholar
  13. Ilhan, M. N., Arkan, Z., Kotan, Z., Tuncoglu, T., Pinarci, M., Tasdemir, A., et al. (2016). Prevalence and socio-demographic determinants of tobacco, alcohol, substance use an drug misuse in general population in turkey. Archives of Neuropsychiatry. Scholar
  14. Isıklı, S., & Iraklı, M. (2002). Investigation of substance use and addiction profile in Turkey: Year of 2002, broad region research of substance use. Turkish Psychological Association, 4, 55–65.Google Scholar
  15. Moore, T. M., & Stuart, G. L. (2005). A review of the literature on marijuana and interpersonal violence. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10, 171–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Preventing Drug Abuse Among Children and Adolescents: Risk Factors and Protective Factors. Retrieved June 14, 2016, from
  17. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). (2012). Results from the 2012. National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Retrieved from data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/ NationalFindings/NSDUHresults2012.pdf.
  18. Norström, T., & Rossow, I. (2014). Cannabis use and violence: Is there a link? Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 42(4), 358–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ogel, K., Tamar, D., Evren, C., & Cakmak, D. (2001). Tobacco, alcohol and drug use among high school students. Turkish Journal of Psychiatry, 12, 47–52.Google Scholar
  20. Owoaje, E., & Bello, J. (2010). Psychoactive substance use among undergraduate students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. The Tropical Journal of Health Sciences, 17(2), 56–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Reddy, P., Resnicow, K., Omardien, R., & Kambaran, N. (2007). Prevalence and correlates of substance use among high school students in South Africa and the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 97(10), 1859–1864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Reingle, J. M., Jennings, W. G., Lynne-Landsman, S. D., Cottler, L. B., & Maldonado-Molina, M. M. (2013). Toward an understanding of risk and protective factors for violence among adolescent boys and men: a longitudinal analysis. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(4), 493–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schlossarek, S., Kempkensteffen, J., Reimer, J., & Verthein, U. (2016). Psychosocial determinants of cannabis dependence: a systematic review of the literature. European Addiction Research, 22(3), 131–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Simsek, Z., Koruk, I., & Altindag, A. (2007). Health risk behaviors of first year students of Harran University Medical Faculty and Faculty of Science and Letters. Toplum Hekimliği Bülteni, 26, 19–24.Google Scholar
  25. Solowij, N., Stephens, R. S., Roffman, R. A., Babor, T., Kadden, R., Miller, M., et al. (2002). Marijuana Treatment Project Research Group. Cognitive functioning of long-term heavy cannabis users seeking treatment. JAMA, 287(9), 1123–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tanrikulu, A. C., Carman, K. B., Palanci, Y., Cetin, D., & Karaca, M. (2009). The prevalence of cigarette smoking among University Students in Kars and Risk Factors. Turkish Thoracic Journal, 10, 101–106.Google Scholar
  27. Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK). (2010). Turkey Health ResearchGoogle Scholar
  28. Ulukoca, N., Gokgoz, S., & Karakoc, A. (2013). Prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, and substance use in Kirklareli University Students. Firat Medical Journal, 18(4), 230–234.Google Scholar
  29. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). (2015). World Drug Report.Google Scholar
  30. Villatoro, V. J. A. (2009). Student survey of Mexico City 2006: Prevalence and trends of drug use. Salud Mental, 32(4), 287–297.Google Scholar
  31. Wagner, F. A., & Anthony, J. C. (2002). From first drug use to drug dependence; developmental periods of risk for dependence upon cannabis, cocaine, and alcohol. Neuropsychopharmacology, 26, 479-488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryDr Abdurrahman Yurtaslan Ankara Oncology Training and Research HospitalYenimahalleTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology, Medical FacultyGazi UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Public Health, Medical FacultyGazi UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry, Medical FacultyGazi UniversityAnkaraTurkey

Personalised recommendations