Barriers and facilitators to cannabis treatment

Peter Gates*, Jan Copeland, Wendy Swift, Greg Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction and Aims. Despite its continued widespread use, relatively few individuals with cannabis use disorders present to treatment services. There is a dearth of research examining the reasons for this observed underutilisation of treatment. The aim of this paper is to examine barriers and facilitators to entry into cannabis treatment. Design and Methods. Three surveys of regular cannabis users in treatment (n=100), in the community (n=100) and from a widespread Internet sample (n=294). Results. Perceived barriers included: not being aware of treatment options; thinking treatment is unnecessary; not wanting to stop using cannabis; and wanting to avoid the stigma associated with accessing treatment. Perceived facilitators included: improving available information on treatment; keeping treatment specific to cannabis; offering additional services, such as telephone support; and simplifying treatment admission processes. Discussion and Conclusions. Participant's perceptions differed significantly depending on their age, gender and treatment status. Participants in treatment typically reported barriers intrinsic to the individual while participants from the community reported barriers relating to the treatment available. Reported facilitators were more homogenous and most commonly related to availability of information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Barrier
  • Cannabis
  • Facilitator
  • Marijuana
  • Treatment


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