Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for cannabis: A scoping review

J Subst Use Addict Treat. 2023 Mar:146:208957. doi: 10.1016/j.josat.2023.208957. Epub 2023 Jan 24.


Introduction: Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) has been used to change substance use behavior. Despite cannabis being the most prevalent federally illicit substance, we have limited understanding of use of SBIRT for managing cannabis use. This review aimed to summarize the literature on SBIRT for cannabis use across age groups and contexts over the last two decades.

Methods: This scoping review followed the a priori guide outlined by the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Scoping Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement. We gathered articles from PsycINFO, PubMed, Sage Journals Online, ScienceDirect, and SpringerLink.

Results: The final analysis includes forty-four articles. Results indicate inconsistent implementation of universal screens and suggest screens assessing cannabis-specific consequences and utilizing normative data may increase patient engagement. Broadly, SBIRT for cannabis demonstrates high acceptability. However, the impact of SBIRT on behavior change across various modifications to intervention content and modality has been inconsistent. In adults, patients with primary cannabis use are not engaging in recommended treatment at similar rates to other substances. Results also suggest a lack of research addressing referral to treatment in adolescents and emerging adults.

Discussion: Based on this review, we offer several to improve each component of SBRIT that may increase implementation of screens, effectiveness of brief interventions, and engagement in follow-up treatment.

Keywords: Brief intervention; Cannabis; SBIRT; Scoping review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Cannabis*
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Hallucinogens*
  • Humans
  • Referral and Consultation


  • Hallucinogens
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists