New Counselling on Cannabis Use Disorder
While physical addiction to cannabis is a myth, there is research showing that cannabis abuse is real, and is a specific disorder. Defined as continually using cannabis while still suffering from a social impairment, impaired control, a proclivity to risky behaviors, among other indicators. In layman’s terms, cannabis use disorder implies using cannabis even though it has continually shown signs of making one’s life worse, more difficult, and less fulfilling.
A new program funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, executed by Colorado State University and the University of Tennessee, has been launched. It is to last for six months and is to include one thousand young adults, ages 18 to 25, all hailing from Colorado and Tennessee.
The plan is to deliver a text-based counseling program for young adults who are suffering from cannabis use disorder. Participants complete a survey, based on which a four-week intervention is planned out. For an entire month the participants will get up to eight messages every other day, all of them tailored to their circumstances.
These messages will help recognize when the participant is most likely to use cannabis. They will get questions that are there to help them figure out when and where they tend to use cannabis the most, as well as asking them about their stress levels, and their cravings.
Furthermore, the messages are adaptable in that when a participant is reporting higher levels of stress, or when they increase their rate of consumption, the said texts will become more serious and stern. This is supposed to distract them, as well as to activate their motivation and remind them not to fall off the wagon. In the words of the researchers themselves, these messages will force them to rethink how they spend their free time, think about who they are friends with, as well as to more objectively observe the effect their cannabis use has on their relationships and grades.
It’s important to note that this program is being implemented at a time when legalization is becoming ever-present. It will follow the development of legalization, and it will influence educational outcomes, as well as cost-effectiveness and treatment outcomes.
The researchers saw this as a unique opportunity, a moment where they can test out an interesting and novel idea while contrasting a setting where cannabis is not legal, and a place where it is.