Anxiety and cannabis-related problem severity among dually diagnosed outpatients: The impact of false safety behaviors

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Cannabis use disorder (CUD) co-occurs with anxiety disorders at high rates. Little is known about the mechanisms linking CUD and anxiety disorders. One theoretically-driven perspective is that individuals with anxiety disorders may be more apt to use FSBs (i.e., behaviors that may be effective in decreasing anxiety in the short-term, but can maintain and even exacerbate anxiety in the long-term), which can perpetuate cannabis use despite cannabis-related problems. The present study tested whether FSB use explained the relation of anxiety symptom severity with cannabis quantity and related problems among 77 adults with CUD and comorbid anxiety disorders seeking outpatient CUD treatment. Results indicated that FSB frequency was significantly related to anxiety symptom severity and cannabis problem severity, but not cannabis quantity. Anxiety symptom severity was indirectly (via FSB frequency) related to cannabis problem severity, but not to cannabis quantity. These novel findings suggest that more frequent use of FSBs may play an important role in cannabis problem severity among individuals with CUD and anxiety disorders.

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Addictive behaviors

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