Contextual influences on the simultaneous use of alcohol and cannabis among college students


Objective: Simultaneous alcohol and cannabis (i.e., marijuana [SAM]) use is highly prevalent among young adults and college students and associated with a number of negative consequences compared to single substance use. The current study examined socio-contextual factors (e.g., physical, situational, social) associated with SAM use versus cannabis-only versus alcohol-only use. Method: Data were collected from college student SAM users (N=313, 53% women, M age = 19.79; 74% White; 10% Hispanic/Latinx) who completed two bursts (28-days) of online repeated daily surveys (RDS). RDS were collected five times per day during both bursts (three months apart). Results: Results suggested that odds of being at home were greater for cannabis-only use compared to SAM and SAM compared to alcohol-only use. Odds of being at a friend’s place were greater for SAM compared to alcohol-only and cannabis-only use. Odds of being at a party were greater for SAM compared to alcohol-only use and odds of being at a bar or restaurant were greater for alcohol-only compared to SAM use. Results also suggested that odds of having more people in a location consistently were greater for SAM compared to cannabis-only use, and alcohol-only compared to cannabis-only use. Conclusion: Physical and social contexts (parties, friend’s homes and being around more people) are significantly associated with SAM use occasions. These findings are well-aligned with a social-ecological framework and suggest intervention and prevention efforts should take a comprehensive approach to reduce harms associated with SAM use. Future work is needed to examine these associations in diverse samples.

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors