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Evaluation of Ecological Momentary Interventions to Improve Coping with Cannabis Craving

Funding Source

National Institute on Drug Abuse – Center for Technology and Behavioral Health Pilot Core

Project Period

February 2021 – February 2022

Principal Investigator

Molly Anderson, PhD

Other Project Staff

Catherine Stanger, PhD (Mentor); Alan Budney, PhD (Co-Mentor); Nicholas Jacobson, PhD (Co-Investigator); Inbal (“Billie”) Nahum-Shani, PhD (Co-Investigator)

Project Summary

Cannabis use in young adults is a major public health concern. Frequent cannabis use can be associated with significant problems such as psychological distress, loneliness, and detrimental effects on memory. An important predictor of continued use is cannabis craving. Given the time-varying nature of craving, providing in-the-moment support to help individuals cope with cravings may result in improved outcomes for those trying to reduce their cannabis use. This pilot study will develop and test an adaptive digital intervention targeting cannabis craving in young adults by encouraging them to try two distinct coping strategies: mindfulness and distraction. Participants will report cannabis craving via ecological momentary assessments (EMA) several times per day. Using a micro-randomized design, we will assess the impact of instructions to engage in a mindfulness-based coping strategy, a distraction-based coping strategy or an encouraging message control. This pilot project will inform a future larger trial to evaluate the effects of these coping strategies on craving and cannabis use in young adults.