Cannabis-Related Disorders Medication

Updated: May 03, 2022
  • Author: Lawrence Genen, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

Short-term, low-dose benzodiazepines for treatment of significant anxiety associated with acute intoxication has been used. Clinicians are advised to use caution when administering benzodiazepines for the treatment of cannabis-induced anxiety, as the anxiety will invariable resolve with no medication over a short period. Drug therapies that diminish cravings for marijuana or intoxicating effects from marijuana use are currently not available.

Overall, a dearth of empirical research has focused on the role of pharmacotherapy in the treatment of cannabis dependence. A double-blinded trial examining the role of nefazodone dosed at 300 mg twice daily and bupropion-SR dosed at 150 mg twice daily demonstrated that neither medication was effective at increasing abstinence or reducing withdrawal symptoms among patients seeking treatment for cannabis dependence. [32]



Class Summary

These agents depress all levels of CNS, which, in turn, reduces anxiety symptoms.

Lorazepam (Ativan)

Lorazepam is used for acute marijuana-associated panic or anxiety symptoms. Monitor vital signs carefully after administration. Watch for respiratory depression, ataxia, and somnolence/excess sedation. Amnesia may follow administration. Effects usually last 5-8 hours. Lorazepam is a sedative hypnotic with a short onset of effects and relatively long half-life. Increasing the action of GABA, which is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, may depress all levels of the CNS, including limbic and reticular formation. When the patient must be sedated for more than 24 hours, this medication is excellent.