Authors: Gina De Sanctis & Ali M. Yurasek, Ph.D.
Faculty Mentor: Ali M. Yurasek, Ph.D.
College: College of Health and Human Performance
Background: Research indicates that individuals experiencing pain are at increased risk to use marijuana. This is concerning because elevated levels of marijuana use are associated with a variety of negative consequences. Behavioral economic demand curves measure individual differences in motivation for substance use and have been associated with problematic patterns of marijuana use. Despite this relationship, marijuana demand has yet to be examined within the context of pain. The present study tested the hypothesis that elevated marijuana demand would be associated with pain endorsement among a sample of marijuana using college students. Method: A Marijuana Purchase Task (MPT) was used to generate a demand curve measure of marijuana reinforcement in a sample of 267 college students (61.1% female, 67% White) who reported using marijuana at least 3 days in the past month. Participants also completed standard measures of marijuana use and a Brief Pain Inventory. Results: A series of logistic regressions indicated that higher marijuana demand (specifically Intensity and Omax) was associated with an increased likelihood of endorsing pain. These results highlight the importance of assessing and targeting pain when intervening with risky marijuana and may have important implications for policies regarding medical and recreational use of marijuana.