New York, NY: Cocaine dependent patients are more likely to complete drug treatment if they use cannabis intermittently, according to clinical trial data to be published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
Investigators at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University assessed the effects of marijuana smoking on treatment retention in a clinical trial of 90 subjects enrolled in a 14-week outpatient program for cocaine dependence and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Researchers reported that those volunteers who used moderate amounts of cannabis during treatment were more likely to complete the program than were abstainers and/or subjects who used pot chronically.
“At week 14, retention rates were 24 percent among abstainers, 57 percent among intermittent/moderate users, and 39 percent among heavy/consistent users,” investigators found. They noted that similar results also have been reported among subjects seeking treatment for opiate dependence.
Cannabis use also was associated with higher rates of abstinence among cocaine users. Among those subjects in the study who reported using pot intermittently, 39 percent achieved two or more weeks of abstinence from cocaine, compared to only 26 percent of subjects who reported not using cannabis during treatment.
The study is the first to assess the use of cannabis on treatment outcomes in patients diagnosed with cocaine dependence, investigators said.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, “Concurrent cannabis use during treatment for comorbid ADHD and cocaine dependence: Effects on outcome,” will appear in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.