Research News Roundup: May 5, 2022

    Simultaneous Alcohol and Marijuana Use Among Young Adults: A Scoping Review of Prevalence, Patterns, Psychosocial Correlates, and Consequences

    Journal: Alcohol Research: Current Reviews (ARCR), 2022, doi: 10.35946/arcr.v42.1.08

    Authors: Christine M. Lee, Brian H. Calhoun, Devon Alisa Abdallah, Jessica A. Blayney, Nicole R. Schultz, Meg Brunner & and Megan E. Patrick


    Background: Alcohol and marijuana are commonly used by young adults, and use of both substances, particularly at the same time, is prevalent among this population. Understanding the prevalence, patterns, correlates, and consequences of simultaneous alcohol and marijuana (SAM) use is important to inform interventions. However, this literature is complicated by myriad terms used to describe SAM use, including use with overlapping effects and same-day co-use.

    Objectives: This scoping review identifies and describes the peer-reviewed literature focused on SAM use by young adults and distinguishes simultaneous use from same-day co-use of alcohol and marijuana. This review also provides a narrative summary of the prevalence of SAM use, patterns of SAM and other substance use, psychosocial correlates, and consequences of SAM use.

    Eligibility Criteria: This review is limited to papers written in English and published in peer-reviewed journals between January 2000 and August 2021. It includes papers assessing simultaneous use or same-day co-use of alcohol and marijuana among young adults ages 18 to 30. Review papers, qualitative interviews, experimental lab studies, policy work, toxicology or medical reports, and papers focused on neurological outcomes are excluded.

    Sources of Evidence: PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science databases were searched. Databases were selected and the search strategy developed in consultation with an information specialist.

    Charting Methods: A data charting form was utilized to specify which information would be extracted from included papers. Eight categories of data were extracted: (1) research questions and hypotheses; (2) sample characteristics; (3) study procedures; (4) definition of SAM use; (5) prevalence of SAM use; (6) patterns of SAM and other substance use; (7) psychosocial correlates of SAM use; and (8) consequences of SAM use.

    Results: A total of 1,282 papers were identified through initial search terms. Through double-blind title/abstract screening and full-text review, the review was narrowed to 74 papers that met review inclusion criteria. Review of these papers demonstrated that SAM use was prevalent among young adults, particularly among those who reported heavier quantities and more frequent use of alcohol and marijuana. Enhancement-related motives for use were consistently positively associated with SAM use. SAM use was associated with greater perceived positive and negative consequences of alcohol and/or marijuana use. Inconsistencies in prevalence, patterns, correlates, and consequences were found between studies, which may be due to large variations in measurement of SAM use, populations studied, methodological design (e.g., cross-sectional vs. intensive longitudinal), and the covariates included in models.

    Conclusions: The literature on simultaneous use and same-day co-use of alcohol and marijuana has expanded rapidly. Of the 74 included papers (61 on SAM use; 13 on same-day co-use), 60 papers (47 on SAM use; 13 on same-day co-use) were published within the last 5 years. Future research focusing on the ways in which SAM use confers acute risk, above and beyond the risks associated with separate consumption of alcohol and marijuana, is needed for understanding potential targets for intervention.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Examining the Role of Social Support in Treatment for Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

    Journal: Addictive Behaviors Reports, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.abrep.2022.100427

    Authors: Amber M. Jarnecke, Tanya C. Saraiya, Delisa G. Brown, James Richardson, Therese Killeen & Sudie E. Back


    Objective: Social support may be a critical mechanism in the treatment of co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, no studies have examined how social support changes as a function of treatment or predicts treatment outcome in a Veteran population with co-occurring SUD and PTSD.

    Method: The current study is a secondary analysis that examined social support over the course of treatment for co-occurring SUD and PTSD (N = 81). Analyses were conducted to examine if a) social support predicts change in substance use and PTSD symptoms, respectively, over the course of treatment and during follow-up, and b) substance use and PTSD symptoms, respectively, predicts change in social support over treatment and during follow-up.

    Results: The findings revealed that between-person social support moderated decreases in substance use (B = −0.17, SE = 0.07, p = 0.017) and PTSD symptom severity (B = −0.12, SE = 0.05, p = 0.009) during treatment but not during follow-up. Within-person substance use and PTSD symptom severity predicted social support but substance use and PTSD symptoms did not moderate changes in social support during treatment or follow-up.

    Conclusions: The findings highlight the critical role of social support during treatment in enhancing outcomes for individuals with co-occurring SUD and PTSD.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    The Effects of Cannabinoids on Sleep

    Journal: Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, 2022, doi: 10.1177/21501319221081277

    Authors: Bhanu Prakash Kolla, Lisa Hayes, Chaun Cox, Lindy Eatwell, Mark Deyo-Svendsen & Meghna P. Mansukhani


    The use of cannabis products to help with sleep and various other medical conditions by the public has increased significantly in recent years. Withdrawal from cannabinoids can lead to sleep disturbance. Here, we describe a patient who developed significant insomnia leading to worsening anxiety, mood, and suicidal ideation in the setting of medical cannabis withdrawal, prompting presentation to the Emergency Department and inpatient admission. There is a limited evidence base for the use of cannabis products for sleep. We provide a comprehensive review evaluating the literature on the use of cannabis products on sleep, including an overview of cannabis and related psychoactive compounds, the current state of the law as it pertains to the prescribing and use of these substances, and potential side effects and drug interactions. We specifically discuss the impact of cannabis products on normal sleep and circadian sleep-wake rhythms, insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea, parasomnias, and restless legs syndrome. We also describe the effects of cannabis withdrawal on sleep and how this increases relapse to cannabis use. Most of the studies are observational but the few published randomized controlled trials are reviewed. Our comprehensive review of the effects of cannabis products on normal sleep and sleep disorders, relevant to primary care providers and other clinicians evaluating and treating patients who use these types of products, shows that cannabis products have minimal to no effects on sleep disorders and may have deleterious effects in some individuals. Further research examining the differential impact of the various types of cannabinoids that are currently available on each of these sleep disorders is required.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    Increased Nicotine Vaping Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic among US Young Adults: Associations with Nicotine Dependence, Vaping Frequency, and Reasons for Use

    Journal: Preventive Medicine, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2022.107059

    Authors: Michael J. Parks, Nancy L. Fleischer & Megan E. Patrick


    Previous research has not examined increased vaping because of the pandemic using a national sample of young adults (YAs), which is a critical gap because pandemic-related increases in vaping among YAs could have important implications for nicotine dependence, prolonged regular use, and using substances to cope with stress. We examined self-reported increased vaping attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic among YAs, and its associations with outcomes that have important implications for future nicotine use. Data came from the Monitoring the Future (MTF) Vaping Supplement. Participants were selected from a nationally representative sample of US 12th-graders who were surveyed at age 19 in fall 2020 (N = 1244). Cross-sectional analyses of the 2020 survey included YAs who vaped nicotine in the past year (35%; N = 440). Weighted descriptive analyses and logistic regression models examined self-reported pandemic-related increased vaping (vs. decreased vaping, or no change), and its associations with current nicotine dependence, vaping behavior, and reasons for vaping. Among YAs who vaped nicotine in the past year, 16.8% reported increased and 44.4% reported decreased vaping due to the pandemic, while 38.9% reported no change. Increased vaping (vs. decreased and/or no change) was significantly associated with nicotine dependence symptoms, current regular nicotine vaping, and vaping to relax, get high, and because of boredom. Self-reported increased vaping because of the pandemic was associated with increased risk for current nicotine dependence and frequent use. Increased vaping may have been a form of coping with pandemic-related stressors, which increases risk for future substance use problems.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    Delivering Remote Measurement-based Care in Community Addiction Treatment: Engagement and Usability over a 6-Month Clinical Pilot

    Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2022,

    Authors: Kevin A. Hallgren, Eliza B. Cohn, Richard K. Ries & David C. Atkins


    Objective: Measurement-based care (MBC) is an evidence-based practice in which patients routinely complete standardized measures throughout treatment to help monitor clinical progress and inform clinical decision-making. Despite its potential benefits, MBC is rarely used in community-based substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. In this pilot study, we evaluated the feasibility of incorporating a digital and remotely delivered MBC system into SUD treatment within a community setting by characterizing patients’ and clinicians’ engagement with and usability ratings toward the MBC system that was piloted.

    Methods: A pilot study was conducted with 30 patients receiving SUD treatment and eight clinicians providing SUD treatment in a large, publicly funded addiction and mental health treatment clinic. Services as usual within the clinic included individual psychotherapy, case management, group therapy, peer support, and medication management for mental health and SUD, including buprenorphine. Patients who enrolled in the pilot continued to receive services as usual and were automatically sent links to complete a 22-item questionnaire, called the weekly check-in, via text message or email weekly for 24 weeks. Results of the weekly check-in were summarized on a clinician-facing web-based dashboard. Engagement was characterized by calculating the mean number of weekly check-ins completed by patients and the mean number times clinicians logged into the MBC system. Ratings of the MBC system’s usability and clinical utility were provided by patients and clinicians.

    Results: Patient participants (53.3% male, 56.7% white, 90% Medicaid enrolled) completed a mean of 20.60 weekly check-ins (i.e., 85.8% of the 24 expected per patient). All but one participating clinician with a patient enrolled in the study logged into the clinician-facing dashboard at least once, with an average of 12.20 logins per clinician. Patient and clinician ratings of usability and clinical utility were favorable: most patients agreed with statements that the weekly check-in was easy to navigate and aided self-reflection. All clinicians who completed usability questionnaires agreed with statements indicating that the dashboard was easy to navigate and that it provided meaningful information for SUD treatment.

    Conclusions: A digital and remotely delivered MBC system can yield high rates of patient and clinician engagement and high ratings of usability and clinical utility when added into SUD treatment as usual. The success of this clinical pilot may be attributable, in part, to the user-centered design processes that were used to develop and refine the MBC system that was piloted. Future efforts may focus on strategies to test whether MBC can be sustainably implemented and offers clinical benefits to patients in community SUD treatment settings.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.



    May 2022