Deakin University

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Engaging Cannabis Users in Treatment

posted on 2017-01-24, 00:00 authored by F Kay-Lambkin, A Healey, A Baker, W Swift, L Thornton, Alyna TurnerAlyna Turner
© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Client engagement in drug and alcohol treatment is difficult, especially so for cannabis users, who respond differently to treatments than do users of other drugs. Available data indicate that people who use cannabis report heightened interpersonal sensitivities, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism relative to users of other drugs, which may affect their ability to establish an early therapeutic alliance in psychological and behavioral treatments. The physiological effects of cannabis, and a low perception of risk associated with cannabis use, also contribute to the ambivalence reported by cannabis users in relation to modifying their current use patterns, and makes engagement particularly difficult. This is a concern, given the documented adverse health and psychological effects associated with chronic cannabis use. Importantly, evidence suggests that cannabis use responds better to psychological and behavioral treatments of at least 10 sessions' duration, highlighting the need to focus efforts on the better engagement and retention of cannabis users in treatment programs, over an extended period. In response, tailoring treatments to the unique challenges associated with cannabis use shows promise, particularly when geared toward meeting the cannabis user's wants and needs in terms of the goals of therapy, the tasks of therapy, and the bond in therapy. Focusing early treatment on behaviors that cannabis users perceive as most risky and harmful (eg, tobacco use, other lifestyle factors), offering treatment delivered in non-face-to-face format (non-F2F) (eg, by Internet or computer-based programs), and establishing specialized cannabis clinics with therapists trained to manage the complex relationships with cannabis users in therapy may prove the key to closing the gap between need for and receipt of treatment for cannabis users.






Publication classification

BN.1 Other book chapter, or book chapter not attributed to Deakin



Place of publication

London, Eng.

Title of book

Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies: Biology, Pharmacology, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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