The most potent outcomes for cannabis use disorders have been observed with a combination of three evidence-based interventions, motivational enhancement therapy (MET), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and abstinence-based contingency-management (CM). Access to this intervention remains limited because of cost and service availability issues. This report describes the initial stages of a project designed to develop and test a computer-assisted version of MET/CBT/CM that could address many of the current barriers to its dissemination. A nonrandomized, 12-week comparison study assigned 38 adults seeking treatment for a cannabis use disorder to either therapist-delivered (n=22) or computer-delivered (n=16) MET/CBT/CM. Attendance, retention, and cannabis use outcomes did not differ significantly between groups, and there were no indications of superior outcomes favoring therapist delivery. Participants provided positive ratings of the computer-delivered sessions. These preliminary findings suggest that computer-assisted delivery of MET/CBT/CM is acceptable to outpatients and does not adversely impact compliance or outcomes achieved during treatment with MET/CBT/CM for cannabis use disorders. Assessment of post-treatment outcomes and replication in randomized trials are needed to determine reliability and longer term effects. As observed in a growing number of studies, computerized therapies have the potential to increase access to, reduce costs, and enhance fidelity of providing evidence-based treatments without sacrificing and possibly enhancing effectiveness.
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