Novel Pharmacotherapeutic Interventions for Cannabis Use Disorder

Brittany L. Mason, Alaa Mustafa, Francesca Filbey, E. Sherwood Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Cannabis use disorder is associated with a variety of consequences, and treatment outcomes are no better than for other substances of abuse. To date, no medications have been approved for the treatment of cannabis use disorder. Based on the available literature, standard psychotropic agents such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants do not appear to be effective. Somewhat promising findings have been reported with the anxiolytic buspirone, and the glutamate modulating drug N-acetylcysteine. Gabapentin showed positive effects for cognition and cannabis use, while cannabinoids may decrease cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Several promising agents to test in humans were identified. The neurosteroid pregnenolone blocks the behavioral effects of tetrahydrocannabinol in an animal model. Cognition may be a domain to target to reduce cannabis use. Thus, medications that modulate cholinergic systems may offer promising treatments. Finally, hypocretin/orexin receptor-1, NMDA receptor, and G-protein-coupled receptor-modulating agents might decrease cannabis craving or withdrawal symptoms. These recent approaches and hypotheses suggest more novel approaches to treating CUD and may be vital in finding treatments for cannabis use disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-220
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Cannabis
  • Pharmacological
  • Substance abuse
  • Treatment
  • Use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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