Maintenance Check-ups Following Treatment for Cannabis Dependence

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2015 Sep;56:11-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2015.03.006. Epub 2015 Apr 11.


Substance use disorders, including cannabis use disorders and associated negative consequences, are best considered chronic and in need of continuing care. In contrast, most treatment efficacy studies evaluate a fixed number of intervention sessions at a single point in time. The present study evaluated the efficacy of posttreatment maintenance check-ups (MCUs) in maintaining and improving outcomes following nine sessions of motivational enhancement treatment/cognitive behavioral treatment (MET/CBT). Adults dependent on cannabis (n=74) were randomly assigned to the MCU or a no check-up (NCU) condition and followed up at 3- and 9-months. MCU sessions occurred 1 and 4months following the completion of the base treatment. Additional MET/CBT sessions were available to participants throughout the follow-up period. The MCUs specifically encouraged treatment re-entry for those showing ongoing signs of disorder. Participants in the MCU condition reported significantly greater abstinent rates at both follow-ups and were using on fewer days at the 3-month but not the 9-month follow-up. Contrary to hypotheses, MCU participants did not attend more additional treatment and differences in rates of cannabis use emerged prior to the first MCU session. Future research with longer follow-up periods and longer monitoring of outcomes is needed to fully evaluate the utility of MCUs or other forms of continuing care.

Keywords: Aftercare; Cannabis; Continuing care; Marijuana treatment; Motivational enhancement therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / rehabilitation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivational Interviewing / methods*
  • Random Allocation
  • Treatment Outcome