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Electronically-Delivered Interventions to Reduce Cannabis Use in Adolescents: A Systematic Review

[ Vol. 8 , Issue. 3 ]


Kammarauche Asuzu*, Asna Matin, Megan Van Noord and Edore Onigu-Otite   Pages 195 - 213 ( 19 )


Background: Cannabis use in adolescence is associated with multiple psychosocial problems. Barriers to care limit access to evidence based interventions. Electronic devices can facilitate access to interventions designed to reduce cannabis use.

Objective: We conducted a systematic review of randomized trials employing electronically delivered interventions to assess for feasibility and effectiveness of this modality in reducing cannabis use among adolescents and young adults.

Methods: Major databases were searched for randomized trials using electronically delivered interventions (web-based + tablets, computers or CD-ROM) for cannabis use in adolescents and young adults published before July 2016. The outcome measure was decrease in cannabis use frequency. We conducted a quality assessment of these studies and qualitatively synthesized study findings.

Results: Thirteen articles representing eleven studies were included in this systematic review. Seven studies were effective in reducing cannabis use with small to medium effect sizes (0.07 to 0.66). Studies with significant reduction in cannabis use were likely to be a universal or selective intervention (100% [U], 80% [S)] vs 25% for indicated programs), target early adolescence (100% vs 33% for middle or late adolescence), employ family interaction theory (100% vs [33 -67%] for other theories) and have greater than 6 sessions (100% vs 33% for shorter sessions).

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that electronically-delivered interventions aimed at reducing cannabis use are feasible in youth, and can be effective. Certain factors, such as age at delivery, underlying theory, and number of sessions appear to play a role in the effectiveness of this mode of delivery. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.


Cannabis, adolescent, young adults, electronic devices, web-based, interventions.


Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT 06519, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas 77030, Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC 27705, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas 77030

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