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Using marijuana with others linked with time spent using, social facilitation and dependence among college students

A new study examined the impact of demographics, marijuana use and problem use, alcohol use, craving and social context on the likelihood of using marijuana with others among college students. Participants (N = 56) were college student marijuana users that completed a baseline assessment and training on a two-week ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol. The baseline assessment included the Social Context of Cannabis Use Scale (SCCUS), which assessed reasons and situations in which an individual is more likely to use marijuana and the Rutgers Marijuana Problem Index (RMPI), which assessed negative consequences associated with participant marijuana use within the last year. It also included questions regarding demographics, their marijuana use based on DSM-IV criteria for Cannabis Abuse and Dependence as well as their alcohol use over the past 30 days. The EMA protocol consisted of questions, including time spent using marijuana, social context of use and craving level, texted to participants three times a day for two weeks. The authors used a multilevel regression model to explore the likelihood of marijuana use with others at each EMA instance when marijuana use was reported. Results showed that participants self-reported using marijuana 25.04 days out of the past 30 days and that 76.22% of the instances in which marijuana use was reported were with others. Furthermore, 21.4% of participants reported always using with others and no one reported exclusively using alone. Moreover, 80.36% of participants used marijuana with others at least 50% of the time. Interestingly, those who used the least frequently tended to use with others almost exclusively, while those who used more frequently used both with others and on their own. In addition, there was a significant positive association between the likelihood of using with others and minutes spent using marijuana (p < 0.001), social facilitation (p < 0.001), and DSM-IV diagnosis (dependence vs. no diagnosis, p = 0.047).

Take away: The majority of instances in which marijuana use was reported were with others. More time spent using marijuana, using for social facilitation and dependence was positively associated with using marijuana in the context of being with others.

Phillips, K. T., Phillips, M. M., Lalonde, T. L., & Prince, M. A. (2018). Does social context matter? An ecological momentary assessment study of marijuana use among college students. Addictive Behaviors.

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