Perceived barriers for cannabis cessation: Relations to cannabis use problems, withdrawal symptoms, and self-efficacy for quitting

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Cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance in the United States. Regular cannabis use appears to be a dynamic, chronic process consisting of multiple quit attempts, periods of reduction, periods of abstinence, and periods of continual use. Cannabis-related processes, including withdrawal, problematic consequences of use, and self-efficacy for quitting each contribute to the cycle of use and, in part, are maintained and reinforced by perceived barriers for cannabis cessation. Yet, no work has examined the association between perceived barriers for cannabis cessation and clinically-relevant processes related to cannabis use. To address this gap, the current study recruited a racially diverse sample (N=145, 63.4% Black or African American) of cannabis users from the community to test the hypothesis that greater perceived barriers for quitting cannabis was related to more cannabis use problems, more cannabis withdrawal symptoms, and lower self-efficacy for quitting cannabis. Structural equation modeling suggested that greater perceived barriers for quitting cannabis was uniquely associated with cannabis use problems (β=0.50, 95%CI [0.39, 0.65], p<0.001), greater withdrawal symptoms (β=0.39, 95%CI [0.30, 0.50], p<0.001), and lower self-efficacy for quitting (β=-0.17, 95%CI [-0.21, -0.02], p=0.028). The results of this study indicate perceived barriers for cannabis cessation may help in better understanding an array of clinically significant cannabis use processes. Indeed, the observed pattern of findings add to current theoretical models of substance use that aim to identify unique risk processes that may maintain substance use and provide valuable information that can be used to inform treatment for cannabis users.

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Addictive behaviors

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