The effects of cannabis on clinical outcomes of treatment services for other drug use disorders remains unclear. The primary aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of recent cannabis consumption on the severity of cocaine withdrawal and depressive symptoms during a 3-week inpatient treatment program for women with cocaine use disorder. The second goal of this study was to test the effect of recent alcohol or tobacco use on the aforementioned outcomes.
This was a longitudinal study with 2 assessment time points: at enrollment and upon discharge from a medically managed intensive inpatient unit. The sample was composed of 214 early abstinence females with cocaine use disorder. Cocaine withdrawal and depressive symptoms were measured using the Cocaine Selective Severity Assessment (CSSA) and the Beck Depressive Inventory (BDI-II). Recent substance use was evaluated using the Addiction Severity Index (ASI-6).
Patients with cocaine use disorder and with frequent recent cannabis use reported higher severity of cocaine withdrawal and depressive symptoms after 3 weeks of inpatient treatment. Neither recent alcohol nor tobacco use was associated with increased CSSA or BDI outcomes, suggesting these substances play a minor role compared to recent cannabis use in affecting withdrawal-related symptoms.
The assessment of recent cannabis use may help identify patients in need of additional treatment to manage severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms and depressive symptoms during early abstinence.