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Indian J Psychiatry. 2019 May-Jun;61(3):228-231. doi: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_16_19.

Relative effectiveness of N-acetylcysteine and baclofen as anticraving agents in cannabis dependence - A retrospective study with telephonic follow-up.

Author information

Centre for Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
The BANYAN, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.



Cannabis dependence is associated with psychiatric, social, and legal consequences. Currently, there is no approved pharmacological treatment for cannabis dependence. Recent studies have reported the utility of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and baclofen (BAC) in the long-term treatment of cannabis dependence, primarily as anticraving agents.

Materials and Methods:

We reviewed the records of all patients who received inpatient treatment during 2015-2017 for cannabis dependence syndrome. We included cases only if cannabis dependence was noted as the primary focus for seeking inpatient care. Data are collected up to 6 months following discharge and analyzed using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The time to the first use of cannabis (in days) following discharge is compared between three groups - psychosocial intervention (PSI) only, BAC in addition to PSI, and NAC in addition to PSI.


During the study period, 238 inpatients were diagnosed with cannabis dependence syndrome. However, cannabis dependence was the primary focus of treatment in only 72 patients. Among these patients, 29 (40.2%) received PSI only while 25 (34.8%) received BAC (mean dose = 55 mg per day, standard deviation [SD] = 2.5 mg) and 18 (25%) received NAC (mean dose = 1800 mg per day, SD = 500 mg) in addition to PSI. While 47 (62.5%) of the patients had comorbid psychiatric disorders, it was comparably distributed in the three groups. A survival analysis shows that the probability of cannabis-free survival is significantly higher in the NAC group as compared to the BAC group which is in turn higher than the PSI group (χ2 = 12.1, P = 0.002).


The use of anticraving medications, namely BAC and NAC, may be a useful option along with PSIs in patients with cannabis dependence and requires further exploration.


Anticraving; N-acetylcysteine; baclofen; cannabis

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