Intentional Cannabis Use to Reduce Crack Cocaine Use in a Canadian Setting: A Longitudinal Analysis

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Final version published as: 

Socías, M.E., Kerr, T., Wood, E., Dong, H., Lake, S., Hayashi, K., DeBeck, K., Jutras-Aswad, D., Montaner, J., Milloy, M-J. (2017). Intentional cannabis use to reduce crack cocaine use in a Canadian setting: A longitudinal analysis. Addictive Behaviors 72:138-143.

Date created: 
Crack cocaine
People who use drugs

Background: No effective pharmacotherapies exist for the treatment of crack cocaine use disorders. Emerging data suggests that cannabinoids may play a role in reducing cocaine related craving symptoms. This study investigated the intentional use of cannabis to reduce crack use among people who use illicit drugs (PWUD).

Methods: Data were drawn from three prospective cohorts of PWUD in Vancouver, Canada. Using data from participants reporting intentional cannabis use to control crack use, we used generalized linear mixed-effects modeling to estimate the independent effect of three predefined intentional cannabis use periods (i.e., before, during and after first reported intentional use to reduce crack use) on frequency of crack use.

Results: Between 2012 and 2015, 122 participants reported using cannabis to reduce crack use, contributing a total of 620 observations. In adjusted analyses, compared to before periods, after periods were associated with reduced frequency of crack use (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] = 1.89, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.02–3.45), but not the intentional use periods (AOR= 0.85, 95% CI: 0.51–1.41). Frequency of cannabis use in after periods was higher than in before periods (AOR = 4.72, 95% CI: 2.47–8.99), and showed a tendency to lower frequency than in intentional cannabis use periods (AOR = 0.56, 95% CI: 0.32–1.01).

Conclusions: A period of intentional cannabis use to reduce crack use was associated with decreased frequency of crack use in subsequent periods among PWUD. Further clinical research to assess the potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of crack use disorders is warranted.


The fulltext of this paper will be available in April 2019 due to the embargo policies of the journal, Addictive Behaviors. Contact to enquire if the full text of the accepted manuscript cn be made available to you.

Document type: 
Rights remain with the authors.