Background: Though Internet- and mobile-based interventions (IMIs) and mindfulness-based interventions (generally delivered in-situ) appear effective for people with substance use disorders, IMIs incorporating mindfulness are largely missing, including those targeting frequent cannabis use.
Methods: This paper details the protocol for a three-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a mindfulness-based self-help IMI (arm 1) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)-based self-help IMI (arm 2) versus being on a waiting list (arm 3) in their effectiveness reducing cannabis use in frequent cannabis users. Predictors of retention, adherence and treatment outcomes will be identified and similarities between the two active intervention arms explored. Both active interventions last six weeks and consist of eight modules designed to reduce cannabis use and common mental health symptoms. With a targeted sample size of n = 210 per treatment arm, data will be collected at baseline immediately before program use is initiated; at six weeks, immediately after program completion; and at three and six months post baseline assessment to assess the retention of any gains achieved during treatment. The primary outcome will be number of days of cannabis use over the preceding 30 days. Secondary outcomes will include further measures of cannabis use and use of other substances, changes in mental health symptoms and mindfulness, client satisfaction, intervention retention and adherence, and adverse effects. Data analysis will follow ITT principles and primarily employ (generalized) linear mixed models.
Discussion: This RCT will provide important insights into the effectiveness of an IMI integrating mindfulness to reduce cannabis use in frequent cannabis users.
Trial registration: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Registry: ISRCTN14971662 ; date of registration: 09/09/2021.
Keywords: Cannabis; Cognitive-behavioral therapy; Internet-based intervention; Mindfulness; Randomized controlled trial; Self-help.