The Role of Depressive and Panic Symptoms in Predicting Cannabis Use Cognitive Processes and Quit Behavior



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Despite the high rates of anxiety/mood disorders among cannabis dependent individuals, there is little research on the role of panic and depressive symptoms among Veterans – a population with high rates of substance use-anxiety and mood comorbidity. The current study examined the main and interactive effects of panic and depressive symptoms on maladaptive expectations and motives for cannabis use, cannabis-related problems, and quit behavior among cannabis-dependent Veterans. Method: Participants (n = 100) were cannabis dependent Veterans participating in a cannabis self-guided quit study. Panic/depressive symptoms were assessed prior to the quit-attempt using two subscales of the Inventory of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms (IDAS); expectancies were assessed using the Marijuana Effect Expectancies Questionnaire–Tension Reduction/Relaxation subscale (MEEQ); motives were assessed using the Marijuana Motives Questionnaire–Coping subscale (MMQ). Pre-quit cannabis-use problems were assessed with the Marijuana Problems Scale (MPS); Substance use prior and following the quit-attempt was assessed with the Timeline Follow-Back (TLFB). A series of hierarchical regression-based models were conducted: Pre-quit cannabis and other substance use were entered as covariates, followed by the main effects of IDAS subscales, then the interaction. Results: The interaction term significantly predicted MEEQ-Tension Reduction/Relaxation, with highest scores reported among those with high IDAS-Depression and Panic scores. The interaction term also was significantly predictive of MMQ-Coping, and was highest among those with high IDAS-Depression and low IDAS-Panic scores. IDAS-Depression was uniquely predictive of greater cannabis problems on the MPS. Regarding quit behavior, IDAS-Panic was marginally predictive of time to relapse in the first 28 days post-quit attempt, with higher scores predicting an increased risk for relapse. Additionally, IDAS-Panic significantly interacted with time to predict fewer percent days abstinent and more cannabis use per use occasion during follow-up. Conclusion: Findings are discussed in relation to the existing literature on anxiety/depressive symptoms in relation to cannabis use processes and quit behavior.



Veterans, Cannabis, Panic, Depression