Efficacy of a targeted cognitive-behavioral treatment program for cannabis use disorders (CANDIS)

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2012 Apr;22(4):267-80. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2011.07.014. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Aims: To examine the efficacy, 3- and 6-month follow-up effects of a psychological treatment for older adolescents and adults with DSM-IV cannabis use disorders. The program was tailored to the needs of this patient population.

Experimental procedures: A randomized controlled clinical trial of 122 patients aged 16 to 44 years with DSM-IV cannabis dependence as the main substance use diagnosis was conducted. Patients were randomly assigned to either Active Treatment (AT, n = 90) or a Delayed Treatment Control group (DTC, n = 32). Treatment consisted of 10 sessions of therapy, detailed in a strictly enforced manual. Assessments were conducted at baseline, during each therapy session, at post treatment and at follow-up assessments at 3 and 6 months.

Results: The treatment retention rate was 88%. Abstinence was achieved in 49% of AT patients and in 13% of those in DTC (p < 0.001; intend-to-treat (ITT) analysis). Further, AT patients improved significantly (p < = 0.001) in the frequency of cannabis use per week, addiction severity, number of disability days, and overall level of psychopathology. Program effects were maintained over a 3-month- (abstinence rate: 51%) and 6-month follow-up (45%) period.

Conclusion: The treatment program is effective in obtaining abstinence as well as reducing cannabis use and improves the associated social and mental health burden.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00252980.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / therapy*
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00252980