Behavioral Economic Interactions Between Cannabis and Alcohol Purchasing: Associations With Disordered Use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As cannabis policy changes, there is an urgent need to understand interactions between cannabis and alcohol couse. An online sample of 711 adult past-month cannabis and alcohol users completed both single-item hypothetical purchasing tasks for cannabis and alcohol and cross-commodity purchasing tasks assessing adjusting-price cannabis with concurrently available, fixed-price alcohol, and vice versa. Participants provided information about cannabis and alcohol use patterns, and completed the Alcohol and Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Tests (AUDIT and CUDIT, respectively). Group data showed that cannabis and alcohol served as complements (as the price of the adjusting-price commodity increased, consumption of both commodities decreased). However, individual data showed substantial variability with nontrivial proportions showing patterns of complementarity, substitution, and independence. More negative slopes (greater complementarity) for fixed-price cannabis and alcohol were both associated with greater self-reported drug consumption and CUDIT and AUDIT scores. The negative relation between cross-price slope and CUDIT/AUDIT score indicates that individuals who treat cannabis and alcohol more as complements are more likely to experience disordered use. Based on these cross-commodity purchasing data, when both cannabis and alcohol are concurrently available at low prices, both may be used at high levels, whereas limiting consumption of one commodity (e.g., through increased price) may reduce consumption of the other. These data show the importance of examining individual participant analyses of behavioral economic drug interactions and suggest that manipulation of cost (e.g., through taxes) or cosale restrictions are potential public health regulatory mechanisms for reducing alcohol and cannabis use and couse behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Alcohol
  • Behavioral economics
  • Cannabis
  • Coconsumption
  • Cross-price elasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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