Cannabis Use Vulnerability Among Socially Anxious Users: Cannabis Craving During a Social Interaction

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Socially anxious individuals appear especially vulnerable to cannabis-related problems. However, the nature of the social anxiety–cannabis relation remains unclear. The present study examined the timing and specificity of cannabis craving in response to a social anxiety induction task among 82 (71% female) cannabis users randomly assigned to either a social interaction or reading task. Participants completed ratings of substance (cannabis, alcohol, cigarette) craving at baseline (prior to being informed of task assignment), before, during, and after task. The Time × Condition interaction was significant such that cannabis craving increased from before to during the task among participants in the social interaction condition, but not among those in the reading condition. This effect was specific to cannabis craving and was not observed for craving for alcohol or cigarettes. Data suggest that increases in state social anxiety may play a role in cannabis use behaviors.

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