Sex-Related Marijuana Expectancies as Predictors of Sexual Risk Behavior Following Smoked Marijuana Challenge
Marijuana use has been associated with sexual risk behavior, but the mechanisms that underlie this relationship are not well understood. The present study examined whether marijuana acutely increased sexual risk on a behavioral decision-making task and whether sex-related marijuana outcome expectancies influenced sexual risk decisions after marijuana administration. Participants were heterosexual marijuana users (n = 126) who were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 study conditions using a 2 × 2 factorial design crossing drug administration (received 2.8% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] or 0% THC) with instructional set (told THC or told placebo). Participants completed a self-report measure of sex-related marijuana outcome expectancies at baseline and estimated likelihood of using condoms with a new and a steady partner in an interactive sexual role-play task (SRT) after smoking. In gender-specific analyses, there was a significant interaction of drug administration by sex-related outcome expectancies, such that for men in the received-placebo conditions, more salient sex-related marijuana outcome expectancies were associated with increased likelihood for sex without a condom with a new partner. Among women, there was no interaction or main effect of drug administration but more salient sex-related marijuana outcome expectancies were associated with increased likelihood of sex without a condom with a steady but not new partner. Findings suggest marijuana does not acutely increase risk for engaging in sexual risk behaviors. By contrast, sex-related marijuana outcome expectancies may play a more significant role in sexual decision-making process among marijuana users.