CANDIS (abbreviation of „Cannabis Use Disorder“) is the first behavioural therapeutically-oriented withdrawal programme especially developed for adolescents (>= 16 years) and adults with problematic cannabis use, and was extensively tested scientifically in Germany.

Therapy topics

The CANDIS Therapy consists of 10 sessions of individual therapy over a period of two to three months (duration: 8 – 12 weeks). It is based on three modules: 1.) enhancement of motivation and stabilisation, 2.) cognitive-behavioural therapy and, 3.) psychosocial problem-solving training.

1. Motivation enhancement

Some people wish to change their cannabis use, but find themselves in conflict between the benefits of use (e. g. possible relaxation) and the benefits of change of use (e. g. reclaim driver’s licence). Especially at the beginning of therapy, ambivalence is being addressed and motivation of participants is consolidated. Information about cannabinoids and their effects on the human body are mediated. Individual factors leading to problematic cannabis use are carefully acquired.

2. Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Within the scope of behavioural therapy effective skills to support change of use are learned (e. g. reduce cannabis use or quit completely). This includes techniques such as to manage strong craving or avoid relapses. Further skills are the development of alternatives for cannabis use, (e. g. positive activities) and to win other persons as social supporters. Changing adverse thoughts and convictions are also important goals of psychotherapy.

3. Problem-solving

Which other challenges and concerns does a participant bring along? Can these issues probably influence change of substance use? With an effective problem-solving training, participants are supported concerning effective coping with difficulties in daily life, at work or in their social environment.

The 10 CANDIS sessions:

  1. Cannabis, the endogenous cannabinoid system and the development of addiction
  2. Promotion of motivation for change
  3. Understanding own cannabis use patterns
  4. Preparation of target day & development of strategies for change
  5. Follow-up of target day & coping with craving
  6. Relapse preventions
  7. Problem-solving I
  8. Problem-solving II
  9. Cannabis & comorbid mental disorders
  10. Establishing social skills & conclusion of therapy.