Home – NEW Forums Module 6 – Comorbidity & Relapse Spring 2023 cannabis and harm reduction NOT as a harm reduction! Reply To: cannabis and harm reduction NOT as a harm reduction!


This has definitely been a huge shift for me. Prior to working in EPI I worked for several years in Tertiary mental health. Often people in that client population used harder drugs like Meth or Crack, so when they disclosed using marijuana it often was overlooked as an issue. Now with EPI so many of my clients use marijuana because they have been told it is a safe way to relax and it is readily available. Client’s families have been very divided with some families believing that marijuana is better for their loved one than prescribed antipsychotics and some families wanting complete abstinence. Also several of my clients from other countries smoke marijuana daily in their home country as an additive to cigarettes, because it grows on the side of the roads. So not only it seen as a natural remedy, a cultural norm or a safe alternative but it also is often a huge part of their social groups activity. Finding ways to provide education that does not cause the client to completely disengage and finding ways for them to feel socially connected and “normal” in their social circles when not using has been a huge learning curve. Also often trying to get buy in from families regarding harm reduction has been difficult. Motivational interviewing has been a help for me in this regard, but I can see that this is forever going to be a struggle.

The cycle I have observed in many of my clients thus far is that I provide education and discuss harm reduction, they often choose to continue using in an attempt to ignore their situation, or maintain some form of control when their families try to demand abstinence, and then once they relapse they become more open.