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Research Finds Donated Cannabis Can Prevent Harm From More Dangerous Substances

Researchers say they have conducted the first case study to document cannabis donation as a harm reduction practice in the United States, and the results are promising.

Marijuana Moment reported details of the research that was published in the Harm Reduction Journal.  It examined a cannabis donation and distribution program that was implemented through a harm reduction program in Michigan, where cannabis use has been legal for medical use since 2009 and adult recreational purposes since 2018.

The authors found their evidence suggests that there is the potential to reduce alcohol and drug use related harms of more dangerous substances, including drug overdose deaths, through substitution with cannabis.

Ten clients in the Michigan program were selected to receive cannabis donations, all of whom had a history of using cannabis as an adjunct to other substances. All were dependent on alcohol, methamphetamine, or opioids.  They received marijuana weekly through pickups or deliveries and showed significant improvements in their quality of life.

According to the study, “clients reported decreased amount and/or frequency of using more harmful substances, reduced anxiety, improved ability to manage withdrawal, and an increased ability to sleep. Some individuals reported abstaining from illicit substances and alcohol entirely with cannabis use, while others reported improvements in quality of life and a reduction of cravings for other substances.”

One client had difficulty abstaining from alcohol since undergoing spinal fusion neck surgery, but with the use of donated cannabis products was able to stay away from alcohol during their recovery and also had topical pain relief by using cannabis pain cream, cannabis vape cartridges, and flower for smoking.

The study found potential benefits of cannabis cited by harm reduction staff included reducing premature death, moderation of pain, increased recovery outcomes and improved safety for clients and the community.

The researchers said their findings indicate the potential for the benefits to be sustained, depending on state laws.  But they said, “future research is needed to fully understand the individual-level outcomes, public health impacts, necessary legal regulations, and best practices for cannabis donation programs through harm reduction organizations.”

This story is just one of many you’ll find in the Cannabis News section of Cannabutter Digest, your go-to resource for all things cannabis-related. Check out our site to find tasty recipesuseful product reviews, and so much more.

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