Despite the justified concern about rising opiate use in the United States, cannabis remains the most commonly used substance in the 12- to 17-year-old population.1 Cannabis use is widespread, particularly in states in which it has been decriminalized or legalized. While use of alcohol and nicotine has fallen among high school students from the years 2010 to 2015, marijuana use has remained relatively constant.2 In addition, the potency of cannabis with regard to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content has increased over the years. Despite the common belief among the public that cannabis use is benign, accumulating research is revealing a number of concerning consequences, especially in vulnerable populations and those who use cannabis regularly.
Treatment for these adverse effects of cannabis is cessation of the drug. This can be accomplished through hard work with a counselor, who may recommend any of a number of treatments, including contingency management, cognitive behavioral therapy, systematic multidimensional family therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy, among others.5 While common lore is that it is impossible to stop cannabis use, the effect sizes of these treatments is in the moderate to large range. There are viable options to stop cannabis use, especially when it becomes problematic.
Dr. Althoff is associate professor of psychiatry, psychology, and pediatrics at the University of Vermont, Burlington. He is director of the division of behavioral genetics and conducts research on the development of self-regulation in children. Email him at.
1.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2013.
2.National Institute on Drug Abuse.