Evidence from Human Studies for Utilising Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Substance-Use Disorders: A Scoping Review with a Systematic Approach


. 2023 Feb 24;20(5):4087.

doi: 10.3390/ijerph20054087.


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Kayvan Ali Gharbi et al.

Int J Environ Res Public Health.



Substance-use disorders are pervasive, comorbid with a plethora of disease and possess limited treatment options. Medicinal cannabinoids have been proposed as a novel potential treatment based on preclinical/animal trials. The objective of this study was to examine the efficacy and safety of potential therapeutics targeting the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of substance-use disorders. We performed a scoping review using a systematic approach of systematic reviews, narrative reviews, and randomised control trials that utilised cannabinoids as treatment for substance-use disorders. For this scoping review we used the PRISMA guidelines, a framework for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, to inform our methodology. We conducted a manual search of Medline, Embase, and Scopus databases in July 2022. Of the 253 results returned by the databases, 25 studies including reviews were identified as relevant, from which 29 randomised controlled trials were derived and analysed via a primary study decomposition. This review captured a small volume of highly heterogenous primary literature investing the therapeutic effect of cannabinoids for substance-use disorders. The most promising findings appeared to be for cannabis-use disorder. Cannabidiol appeared to be the cannabinoid showing the most promise for the treatment of multiple-substance-use disorders.


cannabidiol; cannabinoids; dronabinol; substance-use disorders; treatment.

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