Marijuana is the most used psychoactive drug in the world, and most people with cannabis use disorder do not seek formal treatment. Despite its widespread use, little research has examined marijuana self-change processes and the role of marijuana expectancies related to reduction/cessation of use. Studies have suggested that identifying the anticipated positive and negative outcomes of reducing or quitting marijuana use may facilitate the treatment process and stopping use.
The study was led by primary investigator and lead author Dr. Jane Metrik, associate professor of behavioral and social sciences and and associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior, developed a novel questionnaire, the Marijuana Cessation Expectancy Questionnaire (MCEQ), that would assess marijuana smokers’ expectancies regarding cessation or reduction of marijuana use. Investigators sought to provide an initial test of the psychometric properties of the MCEQ and hypothesized that MCEQ dimensions would be significantly associated with indicators of general marijuana use, problematic marijuana use, marijuana use expectancies, indices of marijuana change behavior.
The 46-item MCEQ was initially developed from content validity analysis of free responses about expected outcomes of stopping and decreasing marijuana use generated by 94 participants. The closed-ended version was then subsequently administered to 151 non-treatment seeking regular marijuana users.
Exploratory factor analyses identified six MCEQ factors that accounted for a majority of the variance, which were related to expected improvement in (1) performance/motivation, (2) problems with authority, (3) interpersonal functioning, (4)expected worsening of mood states, (5) fun experiences, and (6) changes in appetite/weight from cessation/reduction of marijuana use. Overall, the MCEQ items showed good concurrent validity with key measures and incremental associations with change indices, beyond the effects of marijuana use expectancies.
Overall, the results of this study provide initial support for the MCEQ and suggest that it is closely linked to reduction and cessation decisions in marijuana users. In the future, the MCEQ may be used clinically to enhance existing behavioral treatments and motivational interventions for problem marijuana use.
This study was published in August in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 177.