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J Cannabis Ther 2002(3/4):103-118

Harm Reduction

Cannabis and Harm Reduction: A Nursing Perspective

Author
M.L. Mathre

Abstract
The goal of nursing care is to promote health and reduce harm caused by injury, disease, or poor self-care. Harm reduction is a public health model, which is gaining popularity as an effective modality to help persons reduce the negative consequences associated with their drug use. The harm reduction model blends well with the core principles of nursing. When viewed from a nursing perspective, cannabis could be an effective harm reduction agent based on its high benefit-low risk ratio when compared to other standard medications/drugs. As a medicine, cannabis has demonstrated a high therapeutic potential with relatively few side effects or adverse reactions. As a social/recreational drug, cannabis has a wide margin of safety with relatively few risks. The greatest risks from cannabis use are the legal consequences, which are the result of the cannabis prohibition rather than the drug itself. The therapeutic relationship between individuals and their health care providers is severely compromised by the cannabis prohibition.


Keywords
Cannabis, medical marijuana, harm reduction, nursing, social drug use, recreational drug use, adolescent drug use, cannabis prohibition, marijuana prohibition

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