Pain Endorsement and Marijuana Demand

Gina De Sanctis

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.

Poster Pitch

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12 Responses
  1. Sage Schaefer

    Considering medical marijuana is prescribed to many experiencing chronic pain, why do you think the relationship between marijuana use and pain has not been studied?

    1. Gina De Sanctis

      I believe that this may be due to how new the legalization of medical marijuana is in many states, so researchers may be currently working on further research.

  2. Lauren Weinsier

    Hi Gina! Can you elaborate more on your five measures of marijuana reinforcement? How were you able to measure each one independently?

    1. Gina De Sanctis

      Hi Lauren! For my research poster, I focused on questions from the Brief Pain Inventory. Then, I was able to model demand for marijuana. In this case, demand curves show use of marijuana as a function of cost. The five demand indices can be determined from the curve, and the indices that I used were Pmax, Omax, breakpoint, intensity, and elasticity.

  3. chanoan

    Great presentation! I am curious to if any of the participants used alcohol too, as I feel that marijuana use usually accompanies alcohol consumption. Would this affect your findings?

    1. Gina De Sanctis

      Thank you! For the purposes of this study, we were focusing on marijuana usage, but I think it would be interesting to complete further research on the impact of alcohol consumption and pain.

  4. Michelle Castro

    Hi Gina!

    Great poster! I’d be curious to see how many participants had used opioids for pain relief along with marijuana to see if there is a preference or if marijuana could begin to be a substitute for opioids when treating pain.

    1. Gina De Sanctis

      Hi Michelle!

      I think learning about the relationship between opioids and pain would be very interesting. This can be something to consider for future research.