Does the combination matter? Examining the influence of alcohol and cannabis product combinations on simultaneous use and consequences in daily life


Background: Alcohol and marijuana/cannabis are frequently used simultaneously (i.e., SAM use). SAM use is complex, and the ways in which alcohol and cannabis are simultaneously used may reveal differential effects. The purpose of this study was to examine day-level effects of distinct alcohol and cannabis product combinations on simultaneous use and consequences on that day. Methods: College student SAM users (N = 274; 50% women; Mage = 19.82 years) were recruited to complete 54 days of data collection, including 5 repeated daily surveys each day. We identified 12 distinct product combinations reported during SAM-use days. We tested 4 reference groups, with one reflecting the most common use pattern and 3 potentially risky use patterns. We considered 3 outcomes (negative consequences, number of drinks, and number of cannabis uses) and used generalized linear mixed-effects models disentangling within- from between-person effects in all analyses. Results: Using multiple products (≥2) of alcohol was consistently linked to higher odds of experiencing a negative consequence. Combining beer with only one cannabis product (leaf or concentrate) was consistently associated with lower odds of a consequence. Combining cannabis with multiple alcohol products was associated with heavier alcohol consumption. Using dual cannabis products also was associated with heavier cannabis consumption, but this pattern was not significantly different than using concentrate only on a given day. Conclusion: This is the first study to examine day-level influences of distinct alcohol and cannabis product combinations on consumption and consequences among young adult SAM users. Findings suggest that mixing alcohol products confers greater risk for negative consequences and heavier consumption, whereas there is little difference in cannabis consumption when using concentrate only vs. 2 cannabis products on a given day, except for concentrate + beer. Our findings support existing protective strategies of not mixing alcohol products and avoiding use of cannabis concentrate for SAM use as well.

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research