Date of Conferral







Dr. Sandra Caramela-Miller


AbstractYoung adults as a whole are not making informed decisions about recreational marijuana usage. A lack of information about recreational marijuana usage is being circulated through advertising causing young adults to have false perceptions on the subject matter. Many young adults perceive marijuana as non-harmful in its totality, which contributes adverse side effects to their health. Young adult lived experiences were explored in the current study to discover, if they currently have a comprehensive understanding on the psychological and physiological outcomes associated with recreational marijuana use. The purpose of this study is to provide a better understanding of young adults concerning recreational marijuana use and to inform psychological interventions. The qualitative study was designed to explore how recreational marijuana is perceived by ten young adults and to explore their lived experiences. Dependency, social enhancer, self-medication, being stigmatized, individualized needs regarding use, adverse side effects, the need to regulate usage, positive therapeutic outcomes, relationship strains, and elevated cravings were ten overarching themes discovered. Therapeutic interventions focused on psychosomatic support and psychosocial rehabilitative efforts to prevent maladaptive social outcomes for young adults were recommended. Future research should target generalizability of results pertinent to diverse young adult populations. Findings from this study may be utilized to promote positive social change for advancing successful life outcomes, lessening mental health disparities, and preventing overall detrimental multigenerational consequences in young adults.