Cannabidiol as a treatment for craving and relapse in individuals with cocaine use disorder: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.


Mongeau-Pérusse V(1)(2), Brissette S(1)(3), Bruneau J(1)(3), Conrod P(2)(4), Dubreucq S(1)(2), Gazil G(5), Stip E(1)(2)(6), Jutras-Aswad D(1)(2)(7).
Author information:
(1)Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal
(CRCHUM), Montréal, QC, Canada.
(2)Department of Psychiatry and Addiction, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada.
(3)Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada.
(4)Research Center, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire
(CHU) Sainte-Justine, Montréal, QC, Canada.
(5)Unité de recherche clinique appliquée
(URCA), Research Center, CHU Sainte-Justine, Montreal, QC, Canada.
(6)Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, College of Medicine and Health Science, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
(7)University Institute on Addictions, Montreal, QC, Canada.


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Cocaine use disorder (CUD) is a significant public health concern for which no efficacious pharmacological interventions are available. Cannabidiol (CBD) has attracted considerable interest as a promising treatment for addiction. This study tested CBD efficacy for reducing craving and preventing relapse in people with CUD. DESIGN: Single-site double-blind randomized controlled superiority trial comparing CBD with placebo. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Canada. Seventy-eight adults (14 women) with moderate to severe CUD participated. INTERVENTION: Participants were randomly assigned (1 : 1) by stratified blocks to daily 800 mg CBD (n = 40) or placebo (n = 38). They first underwent an inpatient detoxification phase lasting 10 days. Those who completed this phase entered a 12-week outpatient follow-up. MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcomes were drug-cue-induced craving during detoxication and time-to-cocaine relapse during subsequent outpatient treatment. FINDINGS: During drug-cue exposure, craving scores [mean ± standard deviation (SD)] increased from baseline by 4.69 (2.89) versus 3.21 (2.78) points, respectively, in CBD (n = 36) and placebo (n = 28) participants [confidence interval (CI) = -0.33 to 3.04; P = 0.069; Bayes factor = 0.498]. All but three participants relapsed to cocaine by week 12 with similar risk for CBD (n = 34) and placebo (n = 27) participants (hazard ratio = 1.20, CI = 0.65-2.20, P = 0.51; Bayes factor = 0.152). CBD treatment was well tolerated and associated mainly with diarrhoea. CONCLUSIONS: CBD did not reduce cocaine craving or relapse among people being treated for CUD.