Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 94, Issue 5, pp 351–354 | Cite as

Who Seeks Treatment for Cannabis-related Problems?

  • Carol J. StrikeEmail author
  • Karen A. Urbanoski
  • Brian R. Rush



To examine the types of presenting problems and symptoms among individuals seeking treatment for cannabis-related problems in a large treatment centre in Ontario.


Data from assessment interviews conducted with clients who identified cannabis as their primary drug problem (n=426) were analyzed using descriptive statistics.


The majority of people seeking treatments were male (80%) and single (77%). Cannabis treatment seekers varied in their socio-demographic characteristics, drug consumption, pressure to seek treatment, and adverse consequences of cannabis use. They experienced a broad range of substance-related problems, however, the majority were classified as below the action stage in terms of readiness to change their drug consumption. Daily users were older, more likely to be employed, to be cannabis dependent, to suffer from an anxiety disorder, and to use multiple substances.


Cannabis treatment seekers are a heterogeneous group. A better understanding of the relationship between client characteristics and different interventions may improve outcomes.



Examiner les types de problèmes et de symptômes présentés par les personnes voulant se faire soigner pour des problèmes liés au cannabis dans un grand centre de désintoxication de l’Ontario.


Au moyen de statistiques descriptives, nous avons analysé les données d’entretiens d’évaluation menés avec des clients ayant déclaré que leur principal problème de drogue était le cannabis (n=426).


Les personnes voulant se faire soigner étaient en majorité des hommes (80 %) et étaient célibataires (77 %). Le profil socio-démographique, la consommation de drogues, la pression à se faire soigner et les conséquences négatives de la consommation de cannabis variaient selon la personne voulant se faire soigner pour un problème de cannabis. Ces personnes éprouvaient un vaste éventail de problèmes d’abus de substances psychoactives, mais n’étaient pas encore prêtes, en majorité, à passer à l’action et à modifier leur consommation de drogues. Les utilisateurs quotidiens étaient plus âgés et plus susceptibles d’occuper un emploi, d’être dépendants du cannabis, de souffrir de troubles anxieux et de consommer plusieurs substances psychoactives.


Les personnes voulant se faire soigner pour un problème de cannabis forment un groupe hétérogène. Une meilleure compréhension de la relation entre le profil des clients et les diverses interventions possibles pourrait améliorer les résultats du traitement.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Stephens FR, Roffman RA, Simpson, EE. Adult marijuana users seeking treatment. J Consult Clin Psychol 1993;61(6):1100–104.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ogborne AC, Smart, RG. Cannabis users in the general Canadian population. Subst Use Misuse 2000;35(3):301–11.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Adlaf EM, Paglia A, Ivis FJ, Ialomiteanu A. Nonmedical drug use among adolescent students: Highlights from the 1999 Ontario Student Drug Use Survey. CMAJ 2000;162(12):1677–80.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rush B. Client Characteristics and Patterns of Service Utilization Within Ontario’s Specialized Addiction Treatment Agencies: A Provincial Report from DATIS. Toronto: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2002.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kandel DB, Chen K. Types of marijuana users by longitudinal course. J Stud Alcohol 2000;61:367–78.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Anthony JC, Warner LA, Kessler, RC. Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances and inhalants: Basic findings from the national comorbidity survey. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 1994;2(3):244–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Budney AJ, Radonovich KJ, Higgins ST, Wong, CJ. Adults seeking treatment for marijuana dependence: A comparison with cocaine dependent treatment seekers. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 1998a;6(4):419–26.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chacín S. Women’s marijuana problems: An overview of the implications for outreach, intervention, treatment and research. In: Underhill B, Finnegan D (Eds.), Chemical Dependency: Women at Risk. New York: Haworth Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Copeland J, Swift W, Rees V. Clinical profile of participants in a brief intervention program for cannabis use disorder. J Subst Abuse Treat 2001;20:45–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wilkinson DA, Leigh GM, Cordingley J, Martin GW, Lei H. Dimensions of multiple drug use and a typology of drug users. Br J Addict 1987;82:259–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Negrete J, Collins W, Skinner HA, Turner N. The Psychiatric Screener: Development and Initial Field Trial. Paper presented at the Conference on Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders. Toronto, 1997.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Miller WR, Tonigan, JS. Assessing drinkers’ motivation for change: The Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (SOCRATES). Psychol Addict Behav 1996;10:81–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dennis M, Babor TF, Roebuck C, Donaldson J. Changing the focus: The case for recognizing and treating cannabis use disorders. Addiction 2002;97(Suppl 1):4–15.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Budney AJ, Higgins ST, Wong, CJ. Marijuana use and treatment outcome in cocaine-dependent patients. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 1996;4(4):396–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Budney AJ, Bickel WK, Amass L. Marijuana use and treatment outcome among opioid-dependent patients. Addiction 1998b;93(4):493–503.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Budney AJ, Higgins ST, Radonovich KJ, Novy, PL. Adding voucher-based incentives to coping skills and motivational enhancement improves outcomes during treatment for marijuana dependence. J Consult Clin Psychol 2000;68(6):1051–61.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Clark WH, MacNeill Horton A, Dennis M, Babor, TF. Moving from research to practice just in time: The treatment of cannabis use disorders comes of age. Addiction 2002;97(Suppl 1):1–3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol J. Strike
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Karen A. Urbanoski
    • 1
  • Brian R. Rush
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Health Systems Research and Consulting UnitCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations