Marijuana craving during a public speaking challenge: Understanding marijuana use vulnerability among women and those with social anxiety disorder

Julia D. Buckner, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, 236 Audubon Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
José Silgado
Norman B. Schmidt


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is associated with risk for developing marijuana dependence, yet it remains unclear whether urge to use marijuana increases in anticipation of social anxiety-provoking situation, during the situation, or afterwards (to avoid post-event processing). The present study examined the timing of marijuana craving in response to a social anxiety task among 60 (50% female; 33% with SAD) marijuana users randomly assigned to either a speech or reading task. Participants completed ratings of marijuana craving at baseline (prior to being informed of task assignment), before, during, and after task. Among women and participants with SAD, the speech task was associated with greater craving than the reading task. This effect was particularly pronounced during the social anxiety induction task. This effect was not observed for men or participants without SAD. Identification of timing of urge to use marijuana has important implications for treatment and relapse prevention of marijuana problems among women and people with SAD (a group at particular risk for marijuana-related problems).