Correlates and Potential Confounds of Cannabis Withdrawal Among High-Risk Adolescents.
OBJECTIVE: The current study used a sample of high-risk adolescents to examine cannabis withdrawal correlates, including assessments of other drug withdrawal and affective lability that may confound cannabis withdrawal measurement. METHOD: A total of 448 high-risk adolescents, living in the Southwest United States, were recruited from a juvenile detention center for a sexual risk-reduction intervention study (60% male; 67% Hispanic). Assessments were administered every 3 months for a year, resulting in five assessments of drug use and withdrawal (cannabis, alcohol, nicotine). Affective lability was also assessed. RESULTS: Forty-two percent of participants endorsed cannabis withdrawal at baseline. Participants used cannabis, on average, 3.3 days/week at baseline and 0.8-1.1 days/week at follow-ups. Cannabis use and withdrawal were only weakly to moderately correlated (r = .14-.32). Unexpectedly, alcohol withdrawal demonstrated strong correlations with cannabis withdrawal at all assessments (r = .41-.55). Furthermore, affective lability measures were related to cannabis withdrawal (r = .22-.32) but not with cannabis use (r = -.03-.09). CONCLUSIONS: Whereas cannabis withdrawal was only weakly to moderately related to cannabis use, it demonstrated strong associations with alcohol withdrawal across all assessments. In addition, affective lability measures were moderately correlated with cannabis withdrawal but not with cannabis use. Thus, other drug withdrawal and individual differences are essential to consider when assessing cannabis withdrawal.