There is no single set of criteria for classifying substance use as experimental. Rather, the meanings and implications of experimental substance use vary according to the context in which the classification is made. There are at least two contexts in which substance use may be classified as experimental. In the first context, experimental use describes a temporally constrained period of light substance use, most commonly occurring in adolescence and early adulthood, which does not develop into more frequent or problematic use. In this context, the category of experimental use is often contrasted with the more extreme categories of abstinence and habitual use. A second context in which substance use is typically described as experimental involves the use of substances to probe aspects of experience that ...

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