Nabiximols combined with motivational enhancement/cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of cannabis dependence: A pilot randomized clinical trial Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: The current lack of pharmacological treatments for cannabis use disorder (CUD) warrants novel approaches and further investigation of promising pharmacotherapy. We previously showed that nabiximols (27 mg/ml Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)/ 25 mg/ml cannabidiol (CBD), Sativex®) can decrease cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Here, we assessed in a pilot study the tolerability and safety of self-titrated nabiximols vs. placebo among 40 treatment-seeking cannabis-dependent participants. METHODS: Subjects participated in a double blind randomized clinical trial, with as-needed nabiximols up to 113.4 mg THC/105 mg CBD or placebo daily for 12 weeks, concurrently with Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MET/CBT). Primary outcome measures were tolerability and abstinence, secondary outcome measures were days and amount of cannabis use, withdrawal, and craving scores. Participants received up to CDN$ 855 in compensation for their time. RESULTS: Medication was well tolerated and no serious adverse events (SAEs) were observed. Rates of adverse events did not differ between treatment arms (F1,39 = 0.205, NS). There was no significant change in abstinence rates at trial end. Participants were not able to differentiate between subjective effects associated with nabiximols or placebo treatments (F1,40 = 0.585, NS). Cannabis use was reduced in the nabiximols (70.5%) and placebo groups (42.6%). Nabiximols reduced cannabis craving but no significant differences between the nabiximols and placebo groups were observed on withdrawal scores. CONCLUSIONS: Nabiximols in combination with MET/CBT was well tolerated and allowed for reduction of cannabis use. Future clinical trials should explore the potential of high doses of nabiximols for cannabis dependence.


  • Trigo, Jose M
  • Soliman, Alexandra
  • Quilty, Lena C
  • Fischer, Benedikt
  • Rehm, Jürgen
  • Selby, Peter
  • Barnes, Allan J
  • Huestis, Marilyn A
  • George, Tony P
  • Streiner, David Lloyd
  • Staios, Gregory
  • Le Foll, Bernard

publication date

  • 2018