Purpose There is substantial research linking tobacco and alcohol use to subsequent cannabis use, yet the specificity of this relationship is still under debate. The aim of this study was to examine which substance use modelthe gateway hypothesis, the common liability (CL) model and/or the route of administration modelbest explains the relationship between early onset of tobacco and alcohol use and subsequent cannabis use initiation. Methods We used data from 2,113 (51% female) Dutch adolescents who participated in three consecutive assessment waves (mean age: 11.09, 13.56, and 16.27 years, respectively) of the TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey study. (Pre)adolescent cannabis, tobacco and alcohol use was assessed using the Youth Self-Report and a TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey developed questionnaire. Results We found that, during adolescence, early onset of tobacco use does not pose a significantly higher risk of initiating cannabis use than early onset alcohol use. Therefore, we can rule out the route of administration model. Moreover, we found that adolescents who reported early onset comorbid use of both tobacco and alcohol have a higher likelihood to initiate cannabis use than adolescents who have tried either tobacco or alcohol. The gateway hypothesis is not broad enough to explain this finding. Therefore, the CL model best predicts our findings. Conclusion Future research on adolescent cannabis initiation should focus on testing the robustness of the CL model. Furthermore, identifying adolescents who use both tobacco and alcohol, before the age of 13, may help to curtail the onset of cannabis use.

Adolescence, Alcohol use, Cannabis use, Common liability model, Early onset, Gateway hypothesis, Route of administration model, Survival analysis, Tobacco use
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.05.008, hdl.handle.net/1765/34260
Journal of Adolescent Health
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Prince van Leeuwen, A.L, Verhulst, F.C, Reijneveld, S.A, Vollebergh, W.A.M, Ormel, J, & Huizink, A.C. (2011). Can the gateway hypothesis, the common liability model and/or, the route of administration model predict initiation of cannabis use during adolescence? A survival analysisthe TRAILS study. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(1), 73–78. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.05.008