Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Cannabis Cannabinoid Res


alcohol use disorders; cannabis; contingency management; serious mental illness


Introduction: People with serious mental illness (SMI) use cannabis more than any other illicit drug. Cannabis use is associated with increased psychotic symptoms and is highly comorbid with alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Despite the national trend toward decriminalization, little is known about the prevalence, correlates, and impact of cannabis use on those with SMI receiving treatment for substance use disorders, a group at high risk for the negative effects of cannabis use. Methods: In this secondary data analysis, cannabis use prevalence, correlates, and impact on treatment outcomes were examined in 121 adults with cooccurring SMI and AUDs receiving outpatient addiction treatment in a randomized trial of contingency management (CM) for alcohol. Prevalence and frequency of cannabis use were calculated across the 7-month study period using self-report and urine tests. Cannabis users were compared with nonusers by SMI diagnosis, psychiatric symptoms, medical problems, legal problems, and HIV-risk behavior. The relationship between cannabis use and longest duration of alcohol abstinence in participants randomized to CM (n=40) was assessed. Results: Fifty-seven (47%) of participants submitted at least one cannabis-positive urine sample during the study. Out of the 2834 total samples submitted, 751 (27%) were positive for cannabis. Cannabis users were 2.2 times more likely to submit an alcohol-positive sample, and 2.5 times more likely to submit a cocaine-positive sample at baseline, relative to noncannabis users (p=0.01). Cannabis users were more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior (p=0.01) and to report being homeless (p=0.03) than nonusers. When controlling for pretreatment alcohol use, the relationship between comorbid cannabis use and alcohol abstinence during CM was not significant (p=0.77). Conclusion: Rates of comorbid cannabis use were high in this sample of adults with SMI and AUDs. Cannabis use was correlated with recent alcohol and cocaine use, risky sexual behavior, and homelessness, but not with alcohol abstinence during CM.

Clinical Institute

Mental Health


Behavioral Health