Identifying subtypes of cannabis users based on simultaneous polysubstance use

Christal N. Davis*, Wendy S. Slutske, Nicholas G. Martin, Arpana Agrawal, Michael T. Lynskey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cannabis use patterns vary considerably, with many users reporting simultaneous and non-simultaneous use (co-use) of other substances. Despite this, little research has examined the extent to which subtypes of cannabis users may be identified based on their simultaneous and co-use behaviors. Methods: The sample consisted of adult Australian twins and siblings who reported lifetime cannabis use (n = 2590). A latent class analysis was conducted to determine subtypes of cannabis users based on five indicators of substance co-use and simultaneous use. Adolescent correlates (age of substance initiation and conduct disorder) and adult correlates (substance use/disorder and depression) of class membership were assessed. Twin similarity for class membership was also examined. Results: Four subtypes of users were identified: 1) alcohol co-users, 2) simultaneous alcohol users, 3) simultaneous tobacco users, and 4) simultaneous alcohol, tobacco, and drug users. Compared to co-users of alcohol, simultaneous alcohol users were at increased risk for alcohol problems. Patterns of use that involved simultaneous tobacco and cannabis use (i.e., simultaneous tobacco users and simultaneous alcohol, tobacco, and drug users) were associated with the most problematic outcomes, including substance use and disorder. There was evidence for genetic influences (12–58%) on cannabis use patterns, with higher concordance for latent class membership among monozygotic compared to dizygotic twins (χ2 (1) = 7.19, p = 0.007). Conclusions: The current study identified four classes of cannabis users at varying degrees of risk. Results suggest that simultaneous tobacco and cannabis use may be especially associated with deleterious outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107696
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Cannabis
  • Co-use
  • Latent class analysis
  • Simultaneous polysubstance use


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