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Pelago Introduces Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment Program

Pelago’s cannabis program will also support adolescents aged 15-17 years old.

Cud Pr 1

Pelago, a digital clinic partner to U.S. businesses and health plans for substance use management, has announced the addition of cannabis to its specialized substance use disorder (SUD) treatments. The new program, which will be fully implemented by Q3 2024, expands Pelago's digital substance use treatment solutions that currently include support for tobacco, alcohol and opioids.

The program launch follows Pelago’s recent $58 Million funding round and marks the first large-scale digital cannabis use treatment program in the nation. Immediately following the Series C fundraise, Pelago launched its contingency management program and is now adding cannabis use disorder (CUD) treatment to help employers and health plans address rising rates and costs of substance use.

Twenty four states have legalized cannabis for recreational use, and cannabis consumers can use cannabis more openly than ever before. However, with increased use has come increased use disorders. With the recent 420 (April 20) celebration of cannabis culture, educating and informing cannabis consumers on the potential harms of cannabis use is more important than ever.

Cannabis now makes up 72% of all illicit drug use among adults, an increase of 3% (from 70%) the year before. While SAMHSA reports that SUD for drugs and alcohol has increased 4.7% from 2021 to 2022, cannabis use disorder has increased 15.4%.

For those who develop an addiction to cannabis, there is a risk of experiencing a withdrawal syndrome, with many of the withdrawal symptoms overlapping with symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. Among adolescents, cannabis use has increased by 4%, and now makes up 69% of all illicit drug use among adolescents. Pelago’s cannabis program will also support adolescents aged 15-17 years old, focused more on abstinence-based goals given research indicating the negative impacts of cannabis on neurological and cognitive development, as well as the increased likelihood of developing SUDs over the lifecourse.

Clinical trials conducted over the last 30 years support three primary approaches to treating CUD: 1) cognitive behavioral therapy; 2) motivational enhancement therapy/interviewing, and 3) contingency management. Pelago’s cannabis program is leveraging the first two approaches at launch, along with other key program elements, including physician-led care, personalized CBT, and complex condition management, and will evolve its contingency management program to include cannabis later in 2024.

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