A paper on the Cannabis Withdrawal Scale by researchers from the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) has been named one of the top 10 addiction articles of the past year.
The scale, developed by NCPIC’s Professor Jan Copeland, Dr David Allsop and Dr Melissa Norberg in collaboration with Professor Alan Budney from the University of Arkansas, helps clinicians monitor the course and severity of cannabis withdrawal symptoms and determine which interventions would help patients quit successfully.
The “top 10” were picked from a field of over 1,600 articles based on criteria which included their usefulness to clinicians in their individual practice. The final list was announced at the recent American Society of Addiction Medicine Scientific Meeting.
Professor Copeland and her team are now involved in a world first trial of Sativex, a nasal spray containing cannabis extracts designed to take the edge off the types of withdrawal symptoms identified by the Scale, such as nightmares, insomnia, agitation and angry outbursts.
Participants in the study need to spend just over a week in hospital and are given four doses of Sativex or a placebo daily. So far around 40 per cent of participants have been recruited with recruitment expected to continue until October.
Around 200,000 people in Australia are dependent on cannabis. Clearly both the Scale and the treatment have the potential to make a huge difference to outcomes. Very important work from the NCPIC team – watch this space!