Cannabis-related impairment and social anxiety: The roles of gender and cannabis use motives

ArticleinAddictive behaviors 37(11):1294-7 · June 2012with8 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.76 · DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.06.013 · Source: PubMed

Social anxiety appears to be especially related to cannabis-related problems, yet the nature of this association remains unclear. Some data suggest that socially anxious men may be especially vulnerable to problematic cannabis use. The current study examined the relations between social anxiety, cannabis use and use-related problems, and motives for cannabis use by gender among 174 (42.5% female) current (past-month) cannabis users. Among men, social anxiety was significantly, positively related to the number of cannabis-related problems and coping and conformity motives. Coping and conformity motives mediated the relation between social anxiety and cannabis-related problems. Among women, social anxiety was significantly related only to social motives, and was unrelated to cannabis-related problems. These findings suggest that socially anxious men may be especially vulnerable to using cannabis as a means of avoidance coping (avoiding scrutiny and negative affect), which may contribute to the high rates of cannabis-related problems among socially anxious individuals.

    • "Differences in THC metabolism, density of CB1 receptors, motivational processes, and emotional sequelae of marijuana use between males and females may contribute to different outcomes of long-term use in male and female heavy marijuana users (Buckner, Zvolensky, & Schmidt, 2012; Bujarski, Norberg, & Copeland, 2012; Rubino & Parolaro, 2011; Rubino et al., 2008). For example, males are more likely than females to cite social anxiety as a motivation to use (Buckner et al., 2012), while females are more likely to use marijuana to cope due to low distress tolerance (Bujarski et al., 2012). Furthermore, research indicates female adolescent substance abusers are more likely to experience negative consequences of drug use, and are more likely to endorse symptoms of depression and anxiety or meet criteria for an internalizing disorder (McQueeny et al., 2011), while male substance users are more likely to display externalizing behaviors (Kloos, Weller, Chan, & Weller, 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. Ongoing legislation necessitates improved understanding of consequences associated with chronic marijuana use, dependence and deprivation. Altered stress responses to uncertain threats have been documented during drug intoxication and withdrawal in our laboratory. Alterations in reward valuation are also associated with chronic drug use such that drug users devalue distal and/or uncertain rewards; instead preferring rewards most similar to intoxication (i.e., certain and immediate). Both aversion to uncertain threats and biases against uncertain rewards have important implications for addiction, as they encourage drug use (a certain reward). We assessed preferences for Certain vs. Uncertain monetary rewards and stress responses to Uncertain Threat in Deprived and Non-Deprived marijuana users and Non-Smokers. The effect of Deprivation on Uncertain Offer Selection grew as the objective Utility of choosing the Uncertain Offer increased. Consistent with predictions, Deprived Smokers preferred Certain rewards to Uncertain rewards to a greater extent than Non-Deprived Smokers, particularly when it was disadvantageous. Deprivation effects on Uncertain Offer Selection were moderated by marijuana-relevant individual differences in use, dependence, and expectancies. Participants were sensitive to changes in Utility. Males were more sensitive to changes in Utility, selecting the Uncertain Offer at higher rates than females as it became more advantageous. However, Non-Deprived females selected the Uncertain Offer more often relative to Non-Smoker females, performing comparably to males. In contrast with earlier findings, both Deprived and Non-Deprived Smokers evidenced increased startle potentiation to Uncertain Threat as compared to Non-Smokers. We confirm that like other drugs of abuse, chronic marijuana use is associated with alterations in reward valuation and stress response. Deprived marijuana users displayed increased aversion to Uncertain Rewards. All Smokers evidenced increased stress response to Uncertain Threats. Finally, our results join recent research suggesting chronic, ongoing marijuana use has more severe consequences for females.
    Full-text · Thesis · Jul 2014
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    • "Social anxiety was related to coping motivated smoking among men, but not women. This finding is consistent with the cannabis literature in which socially anxious men, but not women, endorse more coping-motivated cannabis use (Buckner et al., 2012). Yet, this result differs from the relations between social anxiety and drinking behaviors in which social anxiety was related to coping motives among women but not men (Norberg et al., 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although social anxiety is related to smoking and nicotine dependence, few researchers have sought to identify factors that contribute to these relations. The current study examined whether social anxiety was associated with cognitive vulnerability factors related to smoking: perceived barriers for quitting, cessation-related problems, negative-affect-reduction-outcome expectancies, and negative-affect-reduction motives. Further, we tested whether social anxiety was robustly related to these factors after controlling for cigarettes smoked per day, gender, alcohol-use frequency, lifetime cannabis-use status, panic attack frequency, anxiety sensitivity, and negative affectivity. The sample consisted of 580 (38.6% female) treatment-seeking smokers. Social anxiety was associated with perceived barriers for quitting, cessation-related problems, negative-affect-reduction-outcome expectancies, and negative-affect-reduction motives. After controlling for covariates, social anxiety was robustly related to perceived barriers for quitting, cessation-related problems, and negative-affect-reduction-outcome expectancies. Social anxiety was robustly related to negative-affect-reduction motives among men, but not women. Results indicate that social anxiety is robustly related to cognitive vulnerability factors associated with poorer cessation outcomes, suggesting that social anxiety may be an important therapeutic target during smoking cessation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
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    • "When considered in light of the finding that almost half of use occurred for coping motives, a possible explanation of this finding is that some people used during periods of NA to increase PA, either because they find use exciting or to be open to experiences that may improve mood. This type of explanation is line with work in which expansion and enhancement motives appear more strongly related to cannabis-related problems than social or conformity motives (e.g., Buckner et al., 2007 Buckner et al., , 2012c). Finally, data from the current study provide novel insight into strategies used to help people refrain from cannabis use during selfquit attempts. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: There is little research that has sought to identify factors related to quit success and failure among cannabis users. The current study examined affective, cognitive, and situational factors related to cannabis use among current cannabis users undergoing a voluntary, self-guided quit attempt. Method: The sample consisted of 30 (33% female) current cannabis users, 84% of whom evinced a current cannabis use disorder. Ecological momentary assessment was used to collect multiple daily ratings of cannabis withdrawal, negative affect, peer cannabis use, reasons for use, and successful coping strategies over two weeks. Results: Findings from generalized linear models indicated that cannabis withdrawal and positive and negative affect were significantly higher during cannabis use than non-use episodes. Additionally, when negative and positive affect were entered simultaneously, negative affect, but not positive affect, remained significantly related to use. Participants were significantly more likely to use in social situations than when alone. When participants were in social situations, they were significantly more likely to use if others were using. Participants tended to use more behavioral than cognitive strategies to abstain from cannabis. The most common reason for use was to cope with negative affect. Conclusions: Overall, these novel findings indicate that cannabis withdrawal, affect (especially negative affect), and peer use play important roles in cannabis use among self-quitters.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Drug and alcohol dependence
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