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.
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