Using Young Adult Language to Describe the Effects of Simultaneous Alcohol and Marijuana Use: Implications for Assessment

Alyssa L. Abrams, Racheal Reavy, Ashley N. Linden-Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Prevalence of alcohol and marijuana use is highest in young adulthood and an increasing number of young adults report simultaneous alcohol and marijuana (SAM) use, which is consistently linked with numerous negative consequences. To better understand reasons for engaging in SAM use and to refine measurement of subjective effects of SAM use, this study aimed to identify (1) how young adults describe subjective experiences during a SAM use occasion and (2) how language describing subjective effects changes as a function of level of alcohol and marijuana use. Methods: Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk), 323 participants (53.6% women, 68.4% White, M age = 23.0 years) who reported past-month heavy episodic drinking and past-month SAM use were asked to list words to describe how they feel when using only alcohol, only marijuana, and various combinations of alcohol and marijuana. Results: SAM use language varied as a function of age and substance use behavior but was not associated with sex or race. Large differences in the terms used to describe subjective effects were observed when comparing different combinations of alcohol and marijuana use; most notably the term “cross-faded” appeared primarily when engaging at the heaviest combinations of alcohol and marijuana. Conclusion: Young adults have a wide range of vocabulary for describing subjective effects of SAM use, and subjective effects vary as a function of the level of each substance used. Future research should consider integrating such contemporary language when measuring subjective effects of SAM use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1873-1881
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume57
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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