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A retrospective outcomes evaluation of cannabis use at an addictions center

Gil Kovac (ST5 General Adult Psychiatry, Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)
Yasir Abbasi (Consultant Psychiatrist in Addictions, Mersey Care NHS Trust, Liverpool, UK AND Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK AND Clinical Lead for Windsor Clinic, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, UK)
David Owens (Associate Professor, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK AND Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, Leeds, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to retrospectively evaluate outcomes measured for patients attending the Leeds Addiction Unit (LAU) for cannabis use disorders.


The authors performed a retrospective evaluation of data for clients referred to LAU for cannabis use disorders. These clients are routinely allocated to a programme of social behaviour and network therapy (SBNT), and methods of monitoring treatment include four questionnaires completed by clients, and the collection of treatment outcomes profile (TOP) data. Data were compared using non-parametric statistical methods.


Of 158 clients included in the study, 20 completed the four questionnaires at assessment and follow-up. A statistically significant improvement was found for the outcome measuring level of dependence (p=0.013). TOP data showed significant reduction in the average number of days of cannabis use over the past four weeks (p<0.001) and improved median scores for the client's rating of overall quality of life (p<0.001).

Practical implications

These findings suggest that treatment using SBNT can result in clinical improvement in cannabis use disorders. The promising results of the UK Alcohol Treatment Trial naturally raised the question as to whether SBNT can be adapted to treat substance use disorders other than alcoholism. This study aims to add to the body of evidence for this proposal.


This is the first evaluation of the service to measure outcomes for the treatment of cannabis misuse. This study is especially relevant given the recent changes made to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders regarding cannabis use disorders, and has triggered another evaluation of cannabis treatment at LAU looking into specific pharmacotherapy.



Thomas Evans, Information Analyst, Leeds & York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, for his invaluable role in the data analysis stage of this project. Dr Yasir Abbasi has received support from R&B Pharmaceuticals to attend educational meetings.


Kovac, G., Abbasi, Y. and Owens, D. (2015), "A retrospective outcomes evaluation of cannabis use at an addictions center", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 2-8.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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