Cannabis Treatment Program

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, with over 50% of young people having used this drug. Cannabis dependence is now recognized as a major contributor to impaired physical, mental and social wellbeing in our community, including increasing problems for adolescents and young adults, and difficulties for older, long term users now trying to stop. Cannabis is an important risk factor for mental health problems that include psychosis, depression and anxiety, and is also an important contributor to driving and workplace injuries. Regular cannabis use also frequently impairs family relationships, educational achievement and employment.

At present the main options for the treatment of cannabis dependence involve psychological and counselling programs, but these are often relatively ineffective. In large part this is because the majority of people who use cannabis regularly experience severe and persistent withdrawal symptoms that prevent them from successfully stopping cannabis use, but the commonly used counselling-based treatment modalities do not adequately address the distressing nature of this cannabis withdrawal syndrome, nor the underlying neurobiological abnormalities that give rise to it.

We provide a medical treatment program for cannabis dependence and withdrawal, using combinations of medications that target the effects of cannabis on brain function, combined with a stepped-care program of physical and psychological support.