Intentional cannabis use to reduce crack cocaine use in a Canadian setting: A longitudinal analysis

Addict Behav. 2017 Sep:72:138-143. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.04.006. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


Background: No effective pharmacotherapies exist for the treatment of crack cocaine use disorders. Emerging data suggests that cannabinoids may play a role in reducing cocaine-related craving symptoms. This study investigated the intentional use of cannabis to reduce crack use among people who use illicit drugs (PWUD).

Methods: Data were drawn from three prospective cohorts of PWUD in Vancouver, Canada. Using data from participants reporting intentional cannabis use to control crack use, we used generalized linear mixed-effects modeling to estimate the independent effect of three pre-defined intentional cannabis use periods (i.e., before, during and after first reported intentional use to reduce crack use) on frequency of crack use.

Results: Between 2012 and 2015, 122 participants reported using cannabis to reduce crack use, contributing a total of 620 observations. In adjusted analyses, compared to before periods, after periods were associated with reduced frequency of crack use (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]=1.89, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.02-3.45), but not the intentional use periods (AOR=0.85, 95% CI: 0.51-1.41). Frequency of cannabis use in after periods was higher than in before periods (AOR=4.72, 95% CI: 2.47-8.99), and showed a tendency to lower frequency than in intentional cannabis use periods (AOR=0.56, 95% CI: 0.32-1.01).

Conclusions: A period of intentional cannabis use to reduce crack use was associated with decreased frequency of crack use in subsequent periods among PWUD. Further clinical research to assess the potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of crack use disorders is warranted.

Keywords: Cannabidiol; Cannabinoids; Cannabis; Crack cocaine; People who use drugs; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • British Columbia
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Crack Cocaine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Medical Marijuana / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Care
  • Self Report


  • Crack Cocaine
  • Medical Marijuana