Our approach to cannabis is changing, including a push to make it available for harm reduction & medical purposes.

Our new paper examines two cannabis distribution programs for people who use drugs in Vancouver, Canada (h/t @jennav5).

Full-text: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1atoO3PEroSmhn
Operating in connection with @VANDUpeople and the Overdose Prevention Society, these programs distribute cannabis products (flower, edibles) to people who use illicit drugs in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The programs promote the use of cannabis for harm reduction purposes.
We found these programs filled an important gap by facilitating access to cannabis among people priced out of the legal market.

But also, they helped people unable to access medical cannabis, despite many primarily using it to manage things like pain or insomnia.
These programs also enabled people have greater choice by accessing a wider range of products, including CBD and edibles.

People also appreciated how these programs were easy to access and primarily run by their peers.
What can we learn from all of this?

So many people have been shut out of the legal cannabis market and medical access programs. Distribution programs are likely to fill an important gap, but we need to work to improve equity in these systems.
But also, let's remember that people wanted access to cannabis to help manage their health needs, including things related to their drug use.

Maybe we should scale up the distributing cannabis to people who use drugs - a helpful adjunctive therapy alongside other supports.
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