Additive roles of tobacco and cannabis co-use in relation to delay discounting in a sample of heavy drinkers Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Rationale Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is associated with steeper delay discounting rates; however, it is unknown whether substance co-use, particularly cannabis use, has an additive effect on discounting rates among heavy drinkers. Furthermore, it is unclear whether substance co-use and delay discounting are independently associated with AUD severity. Objectives The purpose of this study was to determine whether alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis co-use impacts delay discounting rates. We also sought to determine whether substance co-use and delay discounting were associated with AUD symptom counts. Methods The study sample was culled from several human laboratory studies and consisted of 483 heavy drinking individuals who completed a baseline visit (prior to experimental procedures). Participants were divided into groups based on self-reported alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use during the past 30 days: alcohol only (n = 184), alcohol + cigarettes (n = 89), alcohol + cannabis (n = 82), and tri-use (n = 128). We examined discounting rates across the 4 groups and used multiple linear regression to test whether co-use and delay discounting were associated with AUD symptoms. Results After adjusting for covariates, individuals in the alcohol + cannabis group and the tri-use group had steeper discounting rates relative to the alcohol-only group. In addition, tri-use and delay discounting rates were independently correlated with a greater number of AUD symptoms. Conclusions Delay discounting rates were significantly greater among subgroups reporting cannabis use providing partial support for an additive effect, while also highlighting the importance of co-use substance type. Both tri-use and delay discounting were associated with greater AUD severity, which may provide relevant intervention targets.


  • Nieto, Steven J
  • Venegas, Alexandra
  • Burnette, Elizabeth M
  • MacKillop, James
  • Ray, Lara A

publication date

  • May 2022