Recreational cannabis policy reform—What mental health nurses need to know about minimising harm and contributing to the reform debate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The recently rapidly evolving legal status of recreational cannabis in various countries has triggered international debate, particularly around measures required to minimise resulting harms. The present article argues that mental health nurses should have a key role in promoting safe and appropriate use of recreational cannabis, and minimising harm based on the extant evidence. The article summarises the factors driving legalisation, outlines the evident medicinal benefits of cannabis, and appraises the evidence on the negative mental health impacts associated with use. We go on to discuss research findings on the potentially deleterious mental health effects resulting from legalising recreational cannabis and strategies to minimise these harms, including
directions for future research and evaluation. Further, we consider the importance of the implementation of harm minimisation measures that are context-specific, using Thailand as an example. Finally, we present the key health promotion messages that mental health nurses should aim to convey to people who use or consider using recreational cannabis. Ultimately, we aim to provide a summary of the existing evidence that mental health nurses can draw upon to promote mental health and engage with the policy reform debate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Early online date2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

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