Manipulation Checking the Munchies: Validating Self-Reported Dietary Behaviors during Cannabis Intoxication

Publication Abstract

Kruger, Jessica S., Alexis Blavos, Thomas S. Castor, Amy J. Wotring, Victoria R. Wagner-Greene, Tavis Glassman, and Daniel J. Kruger. 2019. "Manipulation Checking the Munchies: Validating Self-Reported Dietary Behaviors during Cannabis Intoxication." Human Ethology, 34: 10-16.

The prevalence and rate of cannabis use will likely increase as the relevant legal framework becomes more permissive across many municipalities. All policies and practices should be informed by scientific evidence and the public health framework for cannabis users may benefit from research and interventions promoting harm reduction. Naturalistic observations are particularly valuable for understanding patterns of human behavior and can complement and validate information collected through other methods, such as self-report surveys. Observational research may be especially valuable for addressing potentially controversial topics where behaviors are socially stigmatized and/or illegal. The current study examined the relationship between self-reported dietary behaviors and food incentive choices among individuals intoxicated with cannabis. Participants at a cannabis decriminalization advocacy event completed brief surveys on cannabis use and dietary habits. Survey administrators offered an incentive choice of a food items; fruit and chips/crisps. Researchers documented choices of food incentives and three trained coders categorized self-reported dietary habits. Participants (N = 275) reported eating unhealthy food (77%), eating healthy food (23%), and avoiding consuming food when intoxicated (7%). Participants also reported eating more food when intoxicated with cannabis and being more likely to eat unhealthy food when intoxicated compared to at other times. Food incentive choices predicted self-reported habits for both consuming healthy and unhealthy foods. Observational results validated self-reported dietary habits and confirmed common stereotypes.


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