Article by Angela Stelmakowich, Growth Op
Researchers suggest that having a firm grasp on where simultaneous alcohol and marijuana (SAM) use among young adults occurs may offer insight into developing related context-informed interventions.
The Pennsylvania State University findings reflect feedback from 148 young adults who reported past-month SAM use and past two-week binge drinking.
Comparing SAM use days relative to alcohol-only days, researchers considered physical location, engagement in risky activities and social context of use. To get a clear picture, participants completed up to 14 daily surveys assessing substance use behaviour and socio-environmental characteristics of use.
Among SAM users, SAM use days “have more negative substance-related consequences than single-substance days,” researchers write in an article appearing online in Drug and Alcohol Review.
There were differences in SAM days for those younger than 21 and those 21 and older. For the younger group, only using the substances at home was associated with greater odds of SAM use. Compare that to subjects 21 and older, who were linked to increased odds of use when using at a friend’s house or outdoors, but associated with lower odds when use was at bars/clubs.
“Engagement in risky activities (pre-gaming and drinking games) was not associated with SAM use,” the authors write.
“Despite experiencing more harms on SAM days, SAM use is not more likely than alcohol use alone to occur in certain environments and situations traditionally found to be linked with increased risk,” the study points out.
Another study out of Penn State last year found that weed use increased the risk effects of drinking alcohol. Researchers determined that SAM users were more likely to drink heavier and more often compared to those who drank only alcohol. “They were also more likely to experience alcohol-related problems — like impulsive actions they later regretted,” notes a university statement.
“Prevention and intervention programs should take into account not just alcohol, but also if people are using additional substances, as well,” the authors recommended.