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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Psychosocial interventions for cannabis use disorder

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (97th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (93rd percentile)

Mentioned by

9 news outlets
2 blogs
3 policy sources
14 X users
3 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page
1 YouTube creator


209 Dimensions

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604 Mendeley
Psychosocial interventions for cannabis use disorder
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd005336.pub4
Pubmed ID

Peter J Gates, Pamela Sabioni, Jan Copeland, Bernard Le Foll, Linda Gowing


Cannabis use disorder is the most commonly reported illegal substance use disorder in the general population; although demand for assistance from health services is increasing internationally, only a minority of those with the disorder seek professional assistance. Treatment studies have been published, but pressure to establish public policy requires an updated systematic review of cannabis-specific treatments for adults. To evaluate the efficacy of psychosocial interventions for cannabis use disorder (compared with inactive control and/or alternative treatment) delivered to adults in an out-patient or community setting. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2015, Issue 6), MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, the Cumulaive Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and reference lists of articles. Searched literature included all articles published before July 2015. All randomised controlled studies examining a psychosocial intervention for cannabis use disorder (without pharmacological intervention) in comparison with a minimal or inactive treatment control or alternative combinations of psychosocial interventions. We used standard methodological procedures as expected by The Cochrane Collaboration. We included 23 randomised controlled trials involving 4045 participants. A total of 15 studies took place in the United States, two in Australia, two in Germany and one each in Switzerland, Canada, Brazil and Ireland. Investigators delivered treatments over approximately seven sessions (range, one to 14) for approximately 12 weeks (range, one to 56).Overall, risk of bias across studies was moderate, that is, no trial was at high risk of selection bias, attrition bias or reporting bias. Further, trials included a large total number of participants, and each trial ensured the fidelity of treatments provided. In contrast, because of the nature of the interventions provided, participant blinding was not possible, and reports of researcher blinding often were unclear or were not provided. Half of the reviewed studies included collateral verification or urinalysis to confirm self report data, leading to concern about performance and detection bias. Finally, concerns of other bias were based on relatively consistent lack of assessment of non-cannabis substance use or use of additional treatments before or during the trial period.A subset of studies provided sufficient detail for comparison of effects of any intervention versus inactive control on primary outcomes of interest at early follow-up (median, four months). Results showed moderate-quality evidence that approximately seven out of 10 intervention participants completed treatment as intended (effect size (ES) 0.71, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63 to 0.78, 11 studies, 1424 participants), and that those receiving psychosocial intervention used cannabis on fewer days compared with those given inactive control (mean difference (MD) 5.67, 95% CI 3.08 to 8.26, six studies, 1144 participants). In addition, low-quality evidence revealed that those receiving intervention were more likely to report point-prevalence abstinence (risk ratio (RR) 2.55, 95% CI 1.34 to 4.83, six studies, 1166 participants) and reported fewer symptoms of dependence (standardised mean difference (SMD) 4.15, 95% CI 1.67 to 6.63, four studies, 889 participants) and cannabis-related problems compared with those given inactive control (SMD 3.34, 95% CI 1.26 to 5.42, six studies, 2202 participants). Finally, very low-quality evidence indicated that those receiving intervention reported using fewer joints per day compared with those given inactive control (SMD 3.55, 95% CI 2.51 to 4.59, eight studies, 1600 participants). Notably, subgroup analyses found that interventions of more than four sessions delivered over longer than one month (high intensity) produced consistently improved outcomes (particularly in terms of cannabis use frequency and severity of dependence) in the short term as compared with low-intensity interventions.The most consistent evidence supports the use of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET) and particularly their combination for assisting with reduction of cannabis use frequency at early follow-up (MET: MD 4.45, 95% CI 1.90 to 7.00, four studies, 612 participants; CBT: MD 10.94, 95% CI 7.44 to 14.44, one study, 134 participants; MET + CBT: MD 7.38, 95% CI 3.18 to 11.57, three studies, 398 participants) and severity of dependence (MET: SMD 4.07, 95% CI 1.97 to 6.17, two studies, 316 participants; MET + CBT: SMD 7.89, 95% CI 0.93 to 14.85, three studies, 573 participants), although no particular intervention was consistently effective at nine-month follow-up or later. In addition, data from five out of six studies supported the utility of adding voucher-based incentives for cannabis-negative urines to enhance treatment effect on cannabis use frequency. A single study found contrasting results throughout a 12-month follow-up period, as post-treatment outcomes related to overall reduction in cannabis use frequency favoured CBT alone without the addition of abstinence-based or treatment adherence-based contingency management. In contrast, evidence of drug counselling, social support, relapse prevention and mindfulness meditation was weak because identified studies were few, information on treatment outcomes insufficient and rates of treatment adherence low. In line with treatments for other substance use, abstinence rates were relatively low overall, with approximately one-quarter of participants abstinent at final follow-up. Finally, three studies found that intervention was comparable with treatment as usual among participants in psychiatric clinics and reported no between-group differences in any of the included outcomes. Included studies were heterogeneous in many aspects, and important questions regarding the most effective duration, intensity and type of intervention were raised and partially resolved. Generalisability of findings was unclear, most notably because of the limited number of localities and homogeneous samples of treatment seekers. The rate of abstinence was low and unstable although comparable with treatments for other substance use. Psychosocial intervention was shown, in comparison with minimal treatment controls, to reduce frequency of use and severity of dependence in a fairly durable manner, at least in the short term. Among the included intervention types, an intensive intervention provided over more than four sessions based on the combination of MET and CBT with abstinence-based incentives was most consistently supported for treatment of cannabis use disorder.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 14 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 604 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Unknown 602 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 92 15%
Student > Bachelor 64 11%
Researcher 63 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 59 10%
Other 37 6%
Other 125 21%
Unknown 164 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 111 18%
Medicine and Dentistry 108 18%
Nursing and Health Professions 71 12%
Social Sciences 36 6%
Unspecified 23 4%
Other 80 13%
Unknown 175 29%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 98. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 24 September 2023.
All research outputs
of 24,527,858 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,929 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 303,736 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 288 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 24,527,858 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,929 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 34.7. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 303,736 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 288 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.