Off-Label Medications May Help Patients With Cannabis Use Disorder

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. Social and policy trends, as reflected in national surveys and state legislation, demonstrate increasing acceptance and use of cannabis with decreasing perception of harm, which may lead to an increased occurrence of cannabis use disorder. As with other substance use disorders, cannabis use disorder commonly co-occurs with non-substance-related psychiatric disorders, putting all psychiatrists at the frontlines to identify and treat patients with this disorder.

There are no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of cannabis use disorder, and few individuals who receive behavioral interventions are able to achieve sustained abstinence (Gates et al., 2016). However, several clinical trials in adults provide evidence for the off-label use of medications in the treatment of the disorder.

The current strategies for the off-label treatment of cannabis use disorder target withdrawal symptoms, aim to initiate abstinence and prevent relapse or reduce use, and treat psychiatric comorbidity and symptoms that may contribute to cannabis use. Here, we focus on the evidence supporting these key strategies. …

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