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Brief Marijuana Dependence Counseling

Program Description

Brief Marijuana Dependence Counseling (BMDC) is a 12-week intervention designed to treat adults with a diagnosis of cannabis dependence. Using a client-centered approach, BMDC targets a reduction in the frequency of marijuana use, thereby reducing marijuana-related problems and symptoms. BMDC is based on the research protocol used by counselors in the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's (CSAT’s) Marijuana Treatment Project, which was conducted in the late 1990s. A treatment manual provides guidelines for counselors, social workers, and psychologists in both public and private settings. BMDC is implemented as a 9-session, multicomponent therapy over a 12-week period that includes elements of motivational enhancement therapy (MET), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and case management. Specifically, the first eight sessions start one week after baseline assessment and are scheduled weekly. The first two sessions involve the review of a “personal feedback report” and the use of MET to bolster motivation for change. The ninth session is scheduled during Week 12, so that participants can review and reflect on change strategies with their therapists.

BMDC was developed through the CSAT’s Marijuana Treatment Project and builds on numerous past studies that have used MET, CBT, and other treatment components to improve client outcomes. This intervention was used in a clinical trial for marijuana dependence treatment in Munich, Germany, as well as in several statewide programs in the United States (e.g., Connecticut, Florida).

Program Snapshot
Evidence Ratings
Anxiety Disorders and Symptoms
Cannabis Use and Cannabis Use Disorder
Alcohol Use and Alcohol Use Disorder
Depression and Depressive Symptoms
Employment and Work Readiness
Non-Specific Mental Health Disorders and Symptoms
Physical Health Conditions and Symptoms
Program Contact
Karen Steinberg, Ph.D.

(860) 679-3712

Dissemination/Implementation Contact
Karen Steinberg, Ph.D.

(860) 679-3712

Program Type
Substance use disorder treatment


26-55 (Adult)

Geographic Locations

Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino

Not Specified