Dynamic relations among simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use, subjective responses, and problem drinking during naturally occurring drinking episodes

Jack T. Waddell, William R. Corbin, Kevin J. Grimm, Jane Metrik, Christine M. Lee, Timothy J. Trull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use (SAM) is associated with riskier drinking. However, little is known regarding mechanisms of risk during drinking episodes. The current study tested whether subjective responses to simultaneous vs. alcohol-only use (i.e., high arousal positive/reward, high arousal negative/aggression, low arousal positive/relaxation, low arousal negative/impairment) were mechanisms through which SAM use was associated with daily drinking. Methods: Emerging adults who co-use alcohol and cannabis (N=85) completed 21 days of ecological momentary assessment with drink-contingent reports during drinking episodes. Participants reported on their simultaneous use and current subjective effects during drink reports and past-night total drinks consumed and negative consequences experienced the next morning. Three-level multilevel models (momentary, daily, person level) tested whether SAM use predicted subjective responses, and whether subjective responses mediated associations between SAM use, heavier drinking and negative consequences. Results: At the momentary and day-level, SAM (vs. alcohol-only) use predicted increased high arousal positive/rewarding, low arousal positive/relaxing, and low arousal negative/impairing subjective effects. SAM use indirectly predicted heavier day-level drinking and further negative consequences through high arousal positive/rewarding response. SAM use also indirectly predicted day-level negative consequences through low arousal negative/impairing response. At the person-level, more frequent SAM use predicted higher person-average high arousal positive/rewarding and low arousal positive/relaxing responses, and high arousal positive/rewarding response mediated relation between SAM frequency and heavier drinking. Conclusions: Simultaneous use was associated with reward, relief, and impairment, and reward and impairment were mechanisms of risk between SAM use and riskier drinking. Findings may inform theory and just-in-time interventions seeking to reduce alcohol misuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110837
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • Co-use
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Reinforcement
  • SAM use
  • Subjective response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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