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Treatment of cannabis use disorder

Scott A Teitelbaum, MD
Robert L DuPont, MD
John A Bailey, MD
Section Editor
Andrew J Saxon, MD
Deputy Editor
Richard Hermann, MD


Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal substance worldwide [1]. Approximately 160 million people or approximately four percent of the world’s population between the ages of 15 and 64 years have been estimated to have used cannabis at least once in the past year.

The psychiatric diagnoses, cannabis abuse and cannabis dependence, in DSM-IV-TR were replaced by one diagnosis, cannabis use disorder, in DSM-5 [2]. Although the crosswalk between DSM-IV and DSM-5 disorders is imprecise, cannabis dependence is approximately comparable to cannabis use disorder, moderate to severe subtype, while cannabis abuse is similar to the mild subtype.

The treatment of cannabis use disorder is reviewed here. The epidemiology, comorbidity, health consequences, medico-legal status, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis of cannabis use disorder are discussed separately. Acute cannabis intoxication is also discussed separately. (See "Cannabis use and disorder: Clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis" and "Cannabis use and disorder: Pathogenesis and pharmacology" and "Cannabis use and disorder: Epidemiology, comorbidity, health consequences, and medico-legal status" and "Cannabis (marijuana): Acute intoxication".)


Treatment for cannabis use disorder usually occurs on an outpatient basis, but residential treatment may be required for patients who cannot remain abstinent in an ambulatory setting or those with multiple concurrent substance use disorders. Treatment may occur in a partial hospital or inpatient setting if the patient is psychotic, suicidal, or agitated, or has been hospitalized for another psychiatric disorder.

The patient's family should be involved in treatment, in order to provide additional history, learn about the disorder, and help monitor the patient's progress.


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Literature review current through: Feb 2017. | This topic last updated: Wed Nov 16 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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