Cannabis dependence associated with risk of problematic behaviors

Fri, 03/18/2022 - 12:59
Cannabis problematic behaviors

Association of patterns of cannabis abuse and dependence with risk of problematic, dysregulated and addictive non-substance-related    

Co-occurrence of drug abuse with other dysregulated behaviors is common. This study aimed to explore the associations between the risk of presenting a clinically relevant condition involving addictive or dysregulated non-substance-related behaviors (measured by the MultiCAGE CAD-4 screening test) and cannabis abuse/dependence scores (CAST/SDS), and the role of gender therein.

 Participants were recruited by stratified probability sampling at the University of Granada. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare SDS and CAST scores of male and female students. Associations between gender and MultiCAGE scores were estimated using the ordinal gamma correlation index and tested with chi. For each MultiCAGE dimension, a Poisson family mixed-effects model was constructed with SDS or CAST as the main input variable, controlling for nicotine and alcohol dependence, and relevant sociodemographic variables. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were calculated for SDS/CAST effects, and the significance threshold was Bonferroni-corrected by family.

Gender differences were significant for cannabis dependence/abuse and all MultiCAGE scores for non-substance-related conditions, with males showing higher risk scores for excessive gambling, excessive internet use, excessive video gaming and hypersexuality, and females presenting higher scores for dysregulated eating and compulsive buying. Cannabis dependence and abuse were significantly associated with an increased risk of problematic video gaming. These associations were mostly driven by men. Importantly, although risk of problem gambling was specifically associated with cannabis abuse/dependence, there was only a weak, non-significant association between problem gambling and alcohol consumption scores.

The risk of problematic drinking, in turn, was strongly associated with all other non-substance-related problems (problem gambling, excessive internet use, dysregulated eating, compulsive shopping and hypersexuality). These differential associations may shed light on the aetiological similarities and differences between problematic substance use and suspected addictive behaviors that do not involve drugs.


José César Perales López: @email

Antonio Maldonado López: @email

Francisca López Torrecillas: @email


Full reference

Perales, J. C., Maldonado, A., López-Quirantes, E. M., & López-Torrecillas, F. (2021). Association patterns of cannabis abuse and dependence with risk of problematic non-substance-related dysregulated and addictive behaviors. PLOS ONE, 16(8), e0255872.