Public Health Significance—Dual use of alcohol and cannabis appears to be associated with adverse behavioral and psychological consequences and is a rapidly growing public health concern. This study suggests dual users have greater demand for alcohol, steeply discount delayed alcoholic drinks, and are at higher risk for alcohol use disorder than individuals who consume alcohol but do not consume cannabis.
The reinforcer pathologies model proposes 2 behavioral economic constructs interact in addiction: operant demand and delay discounting. These constructs manifest as behavioral markers of addiction in the form of excessive reinforcer value and strong preference for immediate access and consumption of this reinforcer despite suboptimal long-term outcomes. The first aim of this investigation was to identify the degree to which delay discounting (of money and alcohol) and demand for alcohol differ between college student drinkers (N = 185) who do and do not co-use cannabis. As a second aim, we sought to replicate the 2-factor solution for alcohol and cannabis demand within a college sample. Results suggest dual users have significantly stronger Persistence and Amplitude for alcohol, demonstrate steeper delay discounting of alcoholic drinks, and are at greater risk for alcohol use disorder than individuals who drink yet do not use cannabis. These results provide further support for the reinforcer pathologies model and contribute to the literature on dual-substance use in the college populationNude, G. P., Reed, D. D., Thornton, T. J., & Amlung, M. (2021). Dual use of alcohol and cannabis among college students: A reinforcer pathologies approach. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 29(4), 407–417. https://doi.org/10.1037/pha0000369. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)