Objective: Cannabis use is common among opioid-dependent patients, but studies of its association with treatment outcome are mixed. In this secondary analysis, the association of cannabis use with opioid treatment outcome is assessed.
Methods: In the main study, participants (n=152) aged 15-21 years were randomized to receive psychosocial treatments and either a 12-week course of buprenorphine-naloxone with a dose taper to zero in weeks 9-12, or a 2-week detoxification with buprenorphine-naloxone. Drug use was assessed by self-report and urine drug screen at baseline and during study weeks 1-12. The association between cannabis and opioid use at weeks 4, 8, and 12 was examined using logistic regression models.
Results: Participants reported a median of 3.0 days (range=0-30) cannabis use in the past month; half (50.3%; n=77) reported occasional use, one-third reported no use (33.1%; n=50), and one-sixth reported daily cannabis use (16.6%; n=25). Median lifetime cannabis use was 4.0 years (range=0-11) and median age of initiation of use was 15.0 years (range 9-21). Neither past cannabis use (age of initiation and use in the month prior to baseline) nor concurrent use was associated with level of opioid use.
Conclusions: Overall, cannabis use had no association with opioid use over 12 weeks in this sample of opioid-dependent youth. While cannabis use remains potentially harmful, it was not a predictor of poor opioid treatment outcome.
Keywords: Adolescent substance abuse; Buprenorphine; Cannabis use; Opioid dependence.
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