What treatments are available for marijuana abusers?
Treatment programs directed at
marijuana abuse are rare, partly because many who use marijuana do so in
combination with other drugs, such as cocaine and alcohol. However, with
more people seeking help to control marijuana abuse, research has
focused on ways to overcome problems with abuse of this drug.
One study of adult marijuana users found comparable benefits from a
14-session cognitive-behavioral group treatment and a 2-session
individual treatment that included motivational interviewing and advice
on ways to reduce marijuana use. Participants were mostly men in their
early thirties who had smoked marijuana daily for over 10 years. By
increasing patients' awareness of what triggers their marijuana use,
both treatments sought to help them devise avoidance strategies. Use,
dependence symptoms, and psychosocial problems decreased for at least 1
year after both treatments. About 30 percent of users were abstinent
during the last 3-month followup period. Another study suggests that
giving patients vouchers for abstaining from marijuana can improve
outcomes. Vouchers can be redeemed for such goods as movie passes,
sports equipment, or vocational training.
No medications are now available to treat marijuana abuse. However,
recent discoveries about the workings of THC receptors have raised the
possibility that scientists may eventually develop a medication that
will block THC's intoxicating effects. Such a medication might be used
to prevent relapse to marijuana abuse by reducing or eliminating its
Where can I get further scientific information about marijuana?
Fact sheets on marijuana, other
illicit drugs, and related topics are available free, in English and
Spanish, by calling NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (1-888-644-6432) or,
for those with hearing impairment, 1-888-TTY-NIDA (1-888-889-6432).
Information on marijuana and related topics also can be obtained
through NIDA's home page, www.drugabuse.gov,
and from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI)
at 1-800-729-6686. NCADI's Web site is www.health.org.
<Go To Part 5>