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Depressive symptoms and cannabis use in a placebo-controlled trial of N-Acetylcysteine for adult cannabis use disorder.

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2019 Nov 11;:

Authors: Tomko RL, Baker NL, Hood CO, Gilmore AK, McClure EA, Squeglia LM, McRae-Clark AL, Sonne SC, Gray KM

RATIONALE: Depression is common among individuals with cannabis use disorder (CUD), particularly individuals who present to CUD treatment. Treatments that consider this comorbidity are essential.
OBJECTIVES: The goal of this secondary analysis was to examine whether N-acetylcysteine (NAC) reduced depressive symptoms among adults (age 18-50) with CUD (N = 302) and whether the effect of NAC on cannabis cessation varied as a result of baseline levels of depression. Bidirectional associations between cannabis use amount and depression were also examined.
METHODS: Data for this secondary analysis were from a National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (NIDA CTN) multi-site clinical trial for CUD. Adults with CUD (N = 302) were randomized to receive 2400 mg of NAC daily or matched placebo for 12 weeks. All participants received abstinence-based contingency management. Cannabis quantity was measured by self-report, and weekly urinary cannabinoid levels (11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) confirmed abstinence. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
RESULTS: Depressive symptoms did not differ between the NAC and placebo groups during treatment. There was no significant interaction between treatment and baseline depression predicting cannabis abstinence during treatment. Higher baseline depression was associated with decreased abstinence throughout treatment and a significant gender interaction suggested that this may be particularly true for females. Cross-lagged panel models suggested that depressive symptoms preceded increased cannabis use amounts (in grams) during the subsequent month. The reverse pathway was not significant (i.e., greater cannabis use preceding depressive symptoms).
CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study suggest that depression may be a risk factor for poor CUD treatment outcome and therefore should be addressed in the context of treatment. However, results do not support the use of NAC to concurrently treat co-occurring depressive symptoms and CUD in adults.

PMID: 31712969 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: ncbi 2

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