Why is this important ?
It is estimated that the number of people who used cannabis at least once (aged 15 to 64) is between 129 and 191 million. Current estimates are that more than 1 million people are seeking treatment for cannabis dependence in the USA alone. Our research indicates that a large proportion of users loss control over their cannabis use at some point in their life. In addition to the addictive risk, driving under the influence of cannabis is becoming highly prevalent notably in youth. Impaired driving imposes a tremendous economic burden on society, in terms of medical and rehabilitation costs, enforcement and correction costs, insurance premiums, and property losses and loss of productivity.
We have developed an international collaboration with GW Pharma to evaluate the possible use of SATIVEX® for cannabis dependence. Our research at CAMH takes advantage of the approval within Canada of SATIVEX® (THC and cannabidiol) which is indicated to treat pain and muscle spasms. We are exploring if SATIVEX® can be used to attenuate cannabis withdrawal and relapse to cannabis.
In addition, by collaborating with CAMH researchers we are exploring the acute and residual effects of cannabis on young drivers' performance of driving-related skills.
As there is currently no approved pharmacotherapy for cannabis dependence treatment, the validation of Sativex use for cannabis dependence could provide a novel therapeutic option in the next few years to assist those with cannabis dependence.
A better understanding of the effect of cannabis on driving abilities could lead to a reduction in the morbidity and mortality resulting from impaired driving.
For more information please visit CAMH's Cannabis page.