Lifetime associations between cannabis, use, abuse,
and dependence and panic attacks in a representative sample

Zvolensky MJ, Bernstein A, Sachs-Ericsson N,
Schmidt NB, Buckner JD, Bonn-Miller MO.
Department of Psychology, University of Vermont,
2 Colchester Avenue, John Dewey Hall,
05450 Burlington, VT 05450-0134, United States.
J Psychiatr Res. 2005 Nov 3;


BACKGROUND: The present investigation evaluated lifetime associations between cannabis use, abuse, and dependence and panic attacks after controlling for alcohol abuse, polysubstance use, and demographic variables. METHODS: Data for this study were obtained as part of a large statewide survey, the Colorado Social Health Survey (CSHS). Participants were contacted using randomly sampled household addresses (72% response rate) and interviews took place in participants' homes. Participants consisted of a representative sample from the Colorado general adult population (n=4745; 52% female). The Diagnostic Interview Schedule was administered to obtain diagnoses. RESULTS: After controlling for polysubstance use, alcohol abuse, and demographic variables, lifetime history of cannabis dependence, but not use or abuse, was significantly related to an increased risk of panic attacks. Additionally, among participants reporting a lifetime history of both panic attacks and cannabis use, the age of onset of panic attacks (M=19.0 years of age) was significantly earlier than for individuals with a lifetime panic attack history but no cannabis use (M=27.6 years of age). CONCLUSIONS: Structured interview data suggest lifetime cannabis dependence is significantly associated with an increased risk of panic attacks.

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