MiWaves: A Micro-Randomized Trial (MRT) to Monitor and Reduce Cannabis Use

MiWaves: A Micro-Randomized Trial (MRT) to Monitor and Reduce Cannabis Use

Researchers are piloting an innovative mobile health (mHealth) intervention called “MiWaves” designed to assist emerging adults, aged 18-25, in monitoring and reducing their cannabis use.

MiWaves includes three key intervention components:

1. Twice daily prompts to facilitate self-monitoring with feedback. 2. Intervention messages containing behavior change strategies. 3. Engagement features including a reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm to guide personalization of when messages are delivered.

By seamlessly integrating with the daily lives of emerging adults through their smartphones, this project has the potential to make a significant impact on public health by addressing cannabis use right at the start of its trajectory.

Cannabis use is more prevalent among emerging adults (age 18-25) than any other age group. A wave of cannabis legalization across the U.S. corresponds to perceptions of cannabis as less risky than in prior decades. Although not all emerging adults who use cannabis experience harm, early onset of cannabis use is associated with a variety of physical and mental health consequences, as well as increased risk for developing cannabis use disorder.

This MiWaves pilot study, funded by a d3center Pilot Grant, will test the feasibility and acceptability of a Micro-Randomized Trial (MRT) to empirically inform MiWaves.

The MRT is a novel trial design for empirically developing “just-in-time adaptive interventions” (JITAIs). In an MRT, each participant is randomized repeatedly to intervention components under investigation (e.g., messages that focus on reducing cannabis use) at each decision point. The results can be used to answer causal questions about the benefits of delivering (vs. not delivering) specific intervention components, and whether these benefits vary by time and context.

Just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs) provide tremendous potential for preventing the escalation and consequences of cannabis use.

Principal Investigator

Laura N. Coughlin, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Michigan Medicine
U-M Addiction Center

Key Collaborators

Susan A. Murphy, Harvard University
Inbal Billie Nahum-Shani, University of Michigan

Funding Source

Focus Area