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J Addict Dis. 2006;25(1):33-41.

Severity of dependence and motivation for treatment: comparison of marijuana- and cocaine-dependent treatment seekers.

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New York State Psychiatric Institute and Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 66, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Although marijuana dependence is prevalent, most individuals with marijuana dependence do not seek treatment. There are few data characterizing treatment seeking marijuana-dependent patients compared to patients presenting for treatment of other drugs regarding the severity of illness and motivation for treatment. Forty-two marijuana-dependent individuals were compared to 58 cocaine-dependent individuals seeking treatment. Compared to cocaine-dependent patients, those with marijuana dependence were younger and less likely to be dependent on alcohol or other drugs. Both groups had similar rates of comorbid anxiety and affective disorders. Marijuana-dependent individuals had lower total number of dependence symptoms but had a higher percentage of individuals endorsing withdrawal symptoms. Although marijuana-dependent individuals had less outpatient treatment exposure, the difference between the two groups was not significant and motivation for change, based on the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment, was similar for both groups of treatment seekers. However, the Circumstances, Motivation, Readiness for Treatment Scale suggested that cocaine-dependent individuals were more motivated for treatment. Taken together, these data suggest that treatment seeking marijuana-dependent individuals have substantial withdrawal dependence symptomatology although it is less clear if they are as motivated to seek out treatment as cocaine-dependent treatment seekers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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