Women appear to use more cannabis during the premenstrual and menstrual phases of the menstrual cycle, presumably because women use cannabis to manage increases in negative affect associated with these phases. Yet little work has tested this hypothesis or examined individual difference variables associated with greater coping-motivated cannabis use. The current study tested whether state negative affect interacts with coping motives to predict greater cannabis use during the premenstrual and/or menstrual phases and whether trait anxiety or difficulties with emotion regulation moderate these relations. Female undergraduate students with regular monthly menstrual cycles and who were not using hormonal contraceptives (N = 40) who reported current (past month) cannabis use provided ratings of negative affect and cannabis use for each day of a period of 65 days. State depression and anger were greater in the premenstrual phase and cannabis use frequency was greater during the premenstrual and menstrual phases. There was a significant interaction between cycle phase (ovulatory vs. premenstrual phase), state depression, and coping motives on cannabis use frequency such that in the ovulatory phase, individuals with greater state depression had more coping-motivated cannabis use. There were also significant interactions between cycle phase (premenstrual vs. menstrual and luteal phases) and state depression, such that greater state depression was associated with more frequent cannabis use in the premenstrual (but not menstrual or luteal) phase. Trait anxiety moderated the association between cycle phase (premenstrual vs menstrual and ovulatory phases) and state anxiety such that individuals with high trait anxiety had more state anxiety in the premenstrual and ovulatory (but not menstrual) phase. Emotion dysregulation did not moderate the association between cycle phase and negative affect or cannabis outcomes. Findings shed light on factors that contribute to greater cannabis use during high-risk menstrual cycle phases, which can have important treatment and prevention implications.

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