Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US, but treatment for marijuana dependence is not fully effective. The most effective treatments to date have employed motivational enhancement (MET) plus cognitive-behavioral coping skills treatment (CB) and contingency management (CM) for abstinence. This proposal is a competitive renewal of our recently completed study to enhance coping and self-efficacy to improve marijuana outcomes in the long term. In the current proposal we are exploring the idea that more tailored teaching of coping skills may result in improved outcomes for marijuana-dependence than those seen thus far. The Individualized Assessment and Treatment Program (IATP) for marijuana dependent patients will employ experience sampling (ES) to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each patient in drug-use situations so that treatment can be tailored accordingly. Results from a pilot study indicated that IATP for alcohol dependent patients yielded better drinking outcomes at post treatment than a packaged CB program (PCBT), that IATP patients reported greater use of coping skills than PCBT participants, and that post treatment reports of coping skills were related to post treatment drinking. Participants will be 275 men and women meeting criteria for marijuana dependence and randomly assigned to 9 sessions of treatment in one of 4 treatment conditions: Standardized MET plus CB (SMET-CB);SMET+ CM (SMET-CB-CM);IATP;or IATP + CM (IATP-CM). Patients in all treatments will engage in ES via cell-phone for two weeks prior to treatment, for a weekly period during treatment, for another week after treatment has ended, and for two weekly periods at months 8 and 14. In the IATP conditions, the information gathered from the pretreatment and during-treatment ES periods will provide data for a functional analysis of patients'drug use and urges to use. Therapists will use the information to address specific cognitions, affects, and behaviors that are adaptive and maladaptive, and will tailor a specific coping skills program with the patient. During-treatment experience sampling will allow adjustment of the treatment goals and procedures, making the treatment adaptive. In the SMET-CB conditions the experience sampling data will not be used in therapy, but will still provide in-vivo measures of drinking and coping skills. It is hypothesized that IATP conditions will yield significantly better coping skill acquisition than SMET-CB conditions, both at post treatment and at extended follow-ups, and that change in coping skills will predict better outcomes for the IATP conditions. It is further predicted that the addition of CM to both IATP and SMET-CB will enhance short-term and long-term outcomes. The results will have implications for improved tailoring of treatment to patients'strength and deficits, and for the validity of the training of coping skills for relapse prevention The data collected will shed light on the ways in which patients in treatment use coping skills in real-time contexts. Finally, the use of repeated ES periods will allow us to determine how treatment impacts thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and how these in turn affect outcome in the long and short term.

Public Health Relevance

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Chronic use of marijuana has effects on mood, health, cognition and productivity. Despite the widespread use of the drug, treatment specific to marijuana is relatively uncommon. When treatment is provided, total abstinence is difficult to achieve. A treatment program that helps the patient more effectively develop coping skills to manage marijuana use, and to determine what are the effective mechanisms of treatment, can significantly advance treatment in this area, and create the conditions necessary for long-term treatment success.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Risk, Prevention and Intervention for Addictions Study Section (RPIA)
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Aklin, Will
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University of Connecticut
Schools of Dentistry
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Litt, Mark D; Kadden, Ronald M (2015) Willpower versus ""skillpower"": Examining how self-efficacy works in treatment for marijuana dependence. Psychol Addict Behav 29:532-40
Litt, Mark D; Kadden, Ronald M; Petry, Nancy M (2013) Behavioral treatment for marijuana dependence: randomized trial of contingency management and self-efficacy enhancement. Addict Behav 38:1764-75
Litt, Mark D; Kadden, Ronald M; Tennen, Howard (2012) The nature of coping in treatment for marijuana dependence: latent structure and validation of the Coping Strategies Scale. Psychol Addict Behav 26:791-800
Kadden, Ronald M; Litt, Mark D (2011) The role of self-efficacy in the treatment of substance use disorders. Addict Behav 36:1120-6
Kadden, Ronald M; Litt, Mark D; Kabela-Cormier, Elise et al. (2009) Increased drinking in a trial of treatments for marijuana dependence: substance substitution? Drug Alcohol Depend 105:168-71
Litt, Mark D; Kadden, Ronald M; Kabela-Cormier, Elise et al. (2008) Coping skills training and contingency management treatments for marijuana dependence: exploring mechanisms of behavior change. Addiction 103:638-48
Petry, Nancy M; Lewis, Marilyn W; Ostvik-White, Elin M (2008) Participation in religious activities during contingency management interventions is associated with substance use treatment outcomes. Am J Addict 17:408-13
Kadden, Ronald M; Litt, Mark D; Kabela-Cormier, Elise et al. (2007) Abstinence rates following behavioral treatments for marijuana dependence. Addict Behav 32:1220-36