Objective: This exploratory qualitative study sought to investigate the question of ‘how do marijuana smokers at a tertiary institution perceive their susceptibility to mental illness?’.
Methods: The study utilized an instrumental case study design. Convenience and snowball sampling techniques were employed to garner participants. Inclusion criteria were that the participants had to be enrolled at a tertiary institution and had smoked at least an average of one spliff of marijuana per week for at least one year. Data collection comprised 12 in-depth interviews with the participants (six male and six female), direct observation, and content analysis of Jamaica’s amended Dangerous Drugs Act of 2015.
Results: Emergent were themes of personal experience, social environment and low-risk perception for mental illness.
Conclusion: Risk perception for mental illness was low. Participants perceived marijuana use as a viable coping strategy and demonstrated limited understanding of the negative effects of smoking marijuana.