Co-use of Alcohol and Cannabis: A Review

Abstract

Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the existing literature on the relationship between the co-use of cannabis and alcohol including (1) epidemiology, comorbidity, and associated consequences of cannabis and alcohol use disorders; (2) preclinical and clinical laboratory studies examining behavioral pharmacology of cannabis and alcohol co-use; and (3) clinical outcomes related to co-use.

Recent Findings

Findings from the literature reviewed suggest that the co-use of alcohol and cannabis is associated with additive performance impairment effects, higher and more frequent consumption levels, increased social and behavioral consequences such as driving while impaired, and greater likelihood of the experiencing comorbid substance use and mental health disorders. Furthermore, co-use may be associated with worse clinical outcomes, yet there are few studies examining the development and evaluation of interventions on reducing the co-use of cannabis and alcohol.

Summary

There is a need for more rigorous and longitudinal research studies on the co-use of cannabis and alcohol to glean a more complete understanding of the relationship between the two substances. Findings can be used to develop and refine intervention strategies to successfully reduce cannabis and alcohol co-use.

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References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Ali M. Yurasek.

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Dr. Ali M. Yurasek declares that she has no conflicts of interest. Dr. Elizabeth R. Aston declares an NIDA grant. Dr. Jane Metrik declares an NIAAA grant.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Alcohol

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Yurasek, A.M., Aston, E.R. & Metrik, J. Co-use of Alcohol and Cannabis: A Review. Curr Addict Rep 4, 184–193 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-017-0149-8

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Keywords

  • Cannabis
  • Alcohol
  • Co-use
  • Behavioral pharmacology
  • Comorbidity
  • Clinical outcomes