Predictive validity of cannabis consumption measures: Results from a national longitudinal study

Background: Validating the utility of cannabis consumption measures for predicting later cannabis related symptomatology or progression to cannabis use disorder (CUD) is crucial for prevention and intervention work that may use consumption measures for quick screening. This study examined whether cannabis use quantity and frequency predicted CUD symptom counts, progression to onset of CUD, and persistence of CUD. Methods: Data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) at Wave 1 (2001–2002) and Wave 2 (2004–2005) were used to identify three risk samples: (1) current cannabis users at Wave 1 who were at risk for having CUD symptoms at Wave 2; (2) current users without lifetime CUD who were at risk for incident CUD; and (3) current users with past-year CUD who were at risk for persistent CUD. Logistic regression and zero-inflated Poisson models were used to examine the longitudinal effect of cannabis consumption on CUD outcomes. Results: Higher frequency of cannabis use predicted lower likelihood of being symptom-free but it did not predict the severity of CUD symptomatology. Higher frequency of cannabis use also predicted higher likelihood of progression to onset of CUD and persistence of CUD. Cannabis use quantity, however, did not predict any of the developmental stages of CUD symptomatology examined in this study. Conclusions: This study has provided a new piece of evidence to support the predictive validity of cannabis use frequency based on national longitudinal data. The result supports the common practice of including frequency items in cannabis screening tools.

Publication Date:
Apr 27 2017
Date Submitted:
Mar 01 2019
Addictive Behaviors, 73
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 Record created 2019-03-01, last modified 2020-10-27

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