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Cannabis matters? Treatment responses to increasing cannabis presentations in addiction services in England

By Mark P. Monaghan, Ian Hamilton, Charlie Lloyd and Kirsteen Paton


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy on 13/11/2015, available online: To conduct a pilot project exploring how treatment providers understood the increasing demand of people presenting to services with cannabis-related problems and how they responded to the demand for this type of treatment in the absence of an up to date evidence-base. Methods: A knowledge exchange event involving treatment providers (n = 30) from one region in the United Kingdom supplemented by qualitative interviews (n = 8) and focus groups with drug treatment staff (n = 5) was conducted. A thematic analysis of this material was then conducted. Findings: Five distinct themes emerged. First, numerous routes were identified into services for problematic cannabis users. Second, access to treatment for some groups is an issue. Third, the type of treatment offered varies considerably within and across services. Fourth, cannabis use was viewed as benign by many staff and clients with noticeable variations of risk. Finally, there is an acknowledgment that there is an evolving connoisseurship associated with contemporary cannabis use whereby the client has increasing expertise in relation to contemporary cannabis consumption that has yet to fully filter through to the practice of treatment providers. Conclusions: There appears to be a gap between treatment demand and evidence-based treatment for cannabis-related problems, so that while the trend in treatment demand continues to rise the translation of the evidence base into practise for effective treatment strategies has not kept pace with this demand

Topics: Cannabis, Qualitative research, Treatment
Publisher: © Taylor & Francis
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.3109/09687637.2015.1090398
OAI identifier:

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