Dr Tom Freeman

Tom Freeman is the Director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group, an interdisciplinary research group bridging the departments of Psychology and Life Sciences at the University of Bath. He is Vice President of the Society for the Study of Addiction, and Senior Editor for the journal Addiction. He is internationally known for his research on cannabis and cannabinoids. This includes observational studies characterising changes in cannabis products and their association with addiction and mental health outcomes, novel harm reduction strategies such as the standard THC unit (similar to the standard alcohol unit), the potential of cannabidiol to influence the effects of cannabis, and clinical trials of cannabidiol as a treatment for cannabis use disorder. His research has generated impacts with the US National Institutes of Health Research, the European Union drugs agency, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

Cannabidiol for the treatment of cannabis use disorder: an adaptive Bayesian dose-finding clinical trial

Presentation link: pending.

Presentation audio: Not available.

Cannabis use disorders account for more first-time entrants to specialist drug treatment than any other illicit drug across Europe. The number of Europeans entering treatment for cannabis use problems increased by 76% in the last decade. Cannabidiol (CBD) could be a potential pharmacotherapy, but it is unclear which (if any) dose might be most effective.  Here we conducted the first randomised clinical trial of CBD for cannabis use disorder. Using a double-blind adaptive Bayesian dose-finding design, 82 people with a DSM-5 diagnosis of cannabis use disorder were randomised to receive CBD (200mg, 400mg, 800mg) or matched placebo over four weeks. All volunteers received motivational interviewing. The adaptive Bayesian dose-finding design enabled ineffective doses of CBD to be eliminated at an early stage, enabling randomisation to continue to potentially effective doses of CBD and placebo. These data were used to assess the extent to which each of these doses of CBD were more effective than placebo at reducing cannabis use according to both co-primary outcomes (urinary THC-COOH, days abstinent).

This study was funded by the MRC (and I was funded by the SSA).