News and Announcements

Tautological Consumption: Using Cannabis to Treat Cannabis Dependency

Nicholas Demski
Written by Nicholas Demski

Recent Research Shows that Cannabis Dependency May be Resolved Using Cannabinoids

Imagine adding more sugar to a cake that’s already much too sweet. Consider pouring gasoline on a fire you’d like to extinguish. Think about being so cold that’d you want to jump into the Arctic Ocean.

Adding more of the same when less is needed can often be disastrous. Would you give a beer to an alcoholic to help them stop drinking wine? It doesn’t seem to make sense.

However, the idea has recently been suggested that there is a tautology in cannabis consumption: for consumers dependent on cannabis, they need cannabis.

Let’s explore that idea.

A randomized clinical trial was published in the middle of 2019 that focused on the potential of nabiximols (an oromucosal spray of a formulated extract of the cannabis sativa plant that contains the principal cannabinoids delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in a 1:1 ratio as well as specific minor cannabinoids and other non-cannabinoid components) to have a positive effect on people who want to end their cannabis consumption dependency [1].

The report, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, questioned if cannabis agonist treatment—when combined with psychosocial services—is an effective and safe way to treat cannabis dependence.

To do so, the study followed 128 participants over twelve weeks to determine their outcomes.

The parallel double-blind study included a placebo and focused on people who had tried other methods of treatment for their cannabis dependency.

During the twelve week study, patients had access to:

  • Weekly clinical reviews
  • Structured counseling sessions
  • Up to 32 sprays daily of THC and CBD (86.4mg and 80mg, respectively)

At the end of the twelve weeks, the results were surprising. They showed that the placebo group had consumed cannabis more frequently than the group that was administered nabiximols. The authors, Lintzeris et al., noted that they consumed cannabis on “significantly more days.” More precisely, they stated that the nabiximols group consumed cannabis 18 days fewer than those in the placebo group.

Even more importantly, the paper (like all those that study cannabinoids) found that this method of treatment was generally well tolerated. Adverse effects were kept to a minimum, and the authors even stated that, “both groups showed comparable improvements in health status.”

In the end, the results were conclusive enough for the Lintzeris et al., to say that cannabis “is a safe approach for reducing cannabis use among individuals with cannabis dependence who are seeking treatment.” A truly tautological thought.

So, it seems that one form of cannabis consumption may help with another, more problematic form.


  1. Lintzeris N, Bhardwaj A, Mills L, et al. Nabiximols for the Treatment of Cannabis Dependence: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 15, 2019179(9):1242–1253. [Times cited = N/A; Journal Impact Factor = 20.768]

About the author

Nicholas Demski

Nicholas Demski

Leave a Comment