Purpose of the Review
Given recent changes in cannabis legalization across North America, understanding cannabis-gambling relationships is of increasing interest. This review examines the current state of the research literature on the co-occurrence of cannabis and gambling. Specifically, the relationship between cannabis and gambling is examined in youth, adults, treatment-seeking individuals, as well as in specific populations.
Literature search findings show that the majority of studies to date examining gambling and cannabis are epidemiological investigations conducted in youth. Overall, studies suggest a link between cannabis and gambling, whereby engaging in any form of gambling is linked with cannabis use; moreover, increasing problem gambling severity is associated with cannabis use. The literature search revealed no studies that systematically investigate simultaneous cannabis use during gambling in gambling populations.
Findings from the current review demonstrate high rates of co-occurrence between cannabis use and gambling, albeit less information on simultaneous use exists. An important research priority for informing policy, therefore, is a better understanding of cannabis’ effects on decision-making and risky behaviours. Findings from the current review highlight that these behaviours begin in youth even before reaching high school. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify the epidemiology of gambling-cannabis relationships, nevertheless, initial findings suggest that early gambling behaviour may serve as an important behavioural marker. Altogether, the findings demonstrate that regulatory frameworks should not only consider cannabis co-use with other substances but also a need to include other addictive behaviours, such as gambling.
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Punia, K., DeVillaer, M., MacKillop, J. et al. Understanding the Overlap Between Cannabis Use and Gambling Behaviour: A Systematic Review of Empirical Findings and Consideration of Policy Implications. Curr Addict Rep 8, 35–56 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-020-00323-x