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Aims: To determine the degree to which cigarette smoking predicts levels of cannabis dependence above and beyond cannabis use itself, concurrently and in an exploratory four-year follow-up, and to investigate whether cigarette smoking mediates the relationship between cannabis use and cannabis dependence. Methods: The study was cross sectional with an exploratory follow-up in the participants’ own homes or via telephone interviews in the United Kingdom. Participants were 298 cannabis and tobacco users aged between 16 and 23; follow-up consisted of 65 cannabis and tobacco users. The primary outcome variable was cannabis dependence as measured by the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS). Cannabis and tobacco smoking were assessed through a self-reported drug history. Results: Regression analyses at baseline showed cigarette smoking (frequency of cigarette smoking: B = 0.029, 95% CI = 0.01, 0.05; years of cigarette smoking: B = 0.159, 95% CI = 0.05, 0.27) accounted for 29% of the variance in cannabis dependence when controlling for frequency of cannabis use. At follow-up, only baseline cannabis dependence predicted follow-up cannabis dependence (B = 0.274, 95% CI = 0.05, 0.53). At baseline, cigarette smoking mediated the relationship between frequency of cannabis use and dependence (B = 0.0168, 95% CI = 0.008, 0.288) even when controlling for possible confounding variables (B = 0.0153, 95% CI = 0.007, 0.027). Conclusions: Cigarette smoking is related to concurrent cannabis dependence independently of cannabis use frequency. Cigarette smoking also mediates the relationship between cannabis use and cannabis dependence suggesting tobacco is a partial driver of cannabis dependence in young people who use cannabis and tobacco.


School of Psychology

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.