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Harm Reduction Journal

, 13:30

First Online: 29 October 2016Received: 17 August 2016Accepted: 21 October 2016


BackgroundThe mode of medical cannabis delivery—whether cannabis is smoked, vapourized, or consumed orally—may have important implications for its therapeutic efficacy and health risks. However, there is very little evidence on current patterns of use among Canadian medical cannabis users, particularly with respect to modes of delivery. The current study examined modes of medical cannabis delivery following regulatory changes in 2014 governing how Canadians access medical cannabis.

MethodsA total of 364 approved adult Canadian medical cannabis users completed an online cross-sectional survey between April and June 2015. The survey examined patterns of medical cannabis use, modes of delivery used, and reasons for use. Participants were recruited through a convenience sample from nine Health Canada licensed producers.

ResultsUsing a vapourizer was the most popular mode of delivery for medical cannabis 53 %, followed by smoking a joint 47 %. The main reason for using a vapourizer was to reduce negative health consequences associated with smoking. A majority of current vapourizer users reported using a portable vapourizer 67.2 %, followed by a stationary vapourizer 41.7 %, and an e-cigarette or vape pen 19.3 %. Current use of a vapourizer was associated with fewer respiratory symptoms AOR = 1.28, 95 % CI 1.05–1.56, p = 0.01.

ConclusionsThe findings suggest an increase in the popularity of vapourizers as the primary mode of delivery among approved medical users. Using vapourizers has the potential to prevent some of the adverse respiratory health consequences associated with smoking and may serve as an effective harm reduction method. Monitoring implications of such current and future changes to medical cannabis regulations may be beneficial to policymakers.

KeywordsMedical cannabis Policy Population health  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Samantha Shiplo - Mark Asbridge - Scott T. Leatherdale - David Hammond


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