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Are Co-Users of Alcohol and Marijuana More Willing to Experience Consequences from Drinking?

Those who use both alcohol and marijuana are at a higher risk for experiencing negative alcohol use outcomes such as heavy alcohol use and driving under the influence. A recent study observed first year college student co-users of alcohol and marijuana and measured their willingness to experience negative consequences. In this study, over 1,900 first year students completed a series of surveys during fall and spring of their first year and fall of their second year.  The first survey recorded amount of alcohol consumed and co-user status, as well as willingness to experience negative consequences. The second survey also asked about willingness and quantified experiences of consequences. The third survey also measured the amount of negative consequences experienced.

The results of these surveys showed that alcohol and marijuana co-users were more willing to experience consequences compared to those who only used alcohol. A student’s willingness to experience consequences was only partially associated with the connection between co-use and experiencing consequences.

This study shows that co-users experience more negative outcomes from using alcohol and are more willing to do so compared to those who only use alcohol. This is important because substance prevention efforts geared towards consequences would not be as effective in college co-users of alcohol and marijuana.

Take Away: College students who use both alcohol and marijuana are more likely to experience negative consequences from drinking alcohol, and are more willing to experience such consequences compared to students who only use alcohol.

Linden-Carmichael, A.N., Mallett, K.A., Sell, N., Turrisi, R. (2019). Are Co-Users of Alcohol and Marijuana More Willing to Experience Consequences from Drinking? A Longitudinal Examination among First-Year College Students. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research. doi.org/10.1111/acer.14075.

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