Expectations of How Acute Cannabis Use Affects Gambling Experiences and Behaviors


  • E. Halle Smith University of Memphis https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6143-0176
  • Abby McPhail University of Memphis
  • Marcos Lermas University of Memphis
  • Rory A. Pfund University of Memphis
  • James P. Whelan University of Memphis


Emerging research shows that many individuals commonly consume cannabis while gambling. However, individuals’ expectations for how cannabis consumption will impact their gambling behavior remain unknown. Participants who gambled weekly (N = 472) were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk and completed assessments of gambling behaviors, cannabis consumption, and expectations about the influence of cannabis on gambling. Almost all participants (94%) screened positive for problem gambling. Over half of participants (55%) reported lifetime cannabis consumption, and almost all those participants (99%) reported gambling under the influence of cannabis (GUIC) in the past month. Most participants agreed with positive expectations of gambling; they expected that they would feel calmer when under the influence of cannabis (61.4%), that gambling would be more enjoyable (61.0%), and that their gambling skills would increase when GUIC (60.6%). At the same time, most participants also agreed with negative expectations of GUIC. They expected cannabis use would make them more careless (56.4%), more anxious (54.8%), and less able to concentrate (53.7%) while gambling. Negative cannabis expectancies were significantly associated with the severity of cannabis consumption. Both positive and negative cannabis expectancies were significantly associated with gambling problems and time spent gambling under the influence of cannabis. These findings indicate that expectations may influence the decision to consume cannabis and gamble simultaneously. This study contributes to the need for addressing cannabis expectations during treatment of gambling problems.


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Original Report