Comprehensive Interventions for Reducing Cannabis Use

Judit Tirado-Muñoz; Juan I. Mestre-Pintó; Magí Farré; Francina Fonseca; Marta Torrens


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2018;31(4):315-323. 

In This Article

Advances in Prevention Programmes for Cannabis use

One meta-analysis[13] examined the effectiveness of interactive middle school-based drug prevention programmes on adolescent cannabis use. In addition to the meta-analysis,[13] no other studies have been recently published regarding prevention interventions for cannabis use.

The meta-analysis included programmes assessed among adolescents (aged 12–14 years) from North American middle schools. Thirty Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT's) and quasi-experimental studies were identified. All interventions included interactive components (skill building and student engagement) instead of more didactic approaches. Interactive components focuses on motivate students against drug use, as well as on skill-building activities to resist drugs and helping students to establish new nonuse attitudes and beliefs. Results reported a wide range of effect sizes. The overall programme effect on adolescent cannabis use was small but significant in favouring the programmes [d = -0.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) (-0.12; -0.02); P < 0.01]. However, evidence is limited since only middle school students in North America were included. Significantly, moderator analysis found that teachers are the most appropriate instructor to deliver the identified preventive interventions, showing higher effectiveness over other instructor types. Authors did not find any other significant differences when exploring programme characteristics that could moderate their efficacy. This could be due to the included interventions having a very similar theoretical approach. Overall, prevention programmes delay or prevent cannabis use, although a small effect size was found.[13] Authors pointed out the need for further research in exploring the programmes theoretical approach, content programmes and the most accurate instructor to improve their effectiveness.