Health Effects of Using Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes: A Gender Analysis of Users’ Perspectives
Joan L. Bottorff1, Laura J. L. Bissell, Lynda G. Balneaves, John L. Oliffe, H. Bindy K. Kan, N. Rielle Capler, Jane A. Buxton and Robin K. O’Brien
The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe how individuals who self-report therapeutic use of cannabis perceive its health effects. Data from 23 individual interviews were transcribed and analyzed. Understandings of gendered roles and identities were used to explore the data and interpret differences in perceptions. Descriptions of the health benefits of cannabis for therapeutic purposes included cannabis as life preserving, a disease therapy, a medicine for the mind, a means for self-management, and a way to manage addiction. Self-management of risks focused on the potential effects of excessive use, smoking-related risks, and purchasing precautions. Although the reports of women and men were similar in many respects, there were important differences in patterns and practices of use that reflected gender influences. Insights from the study provide direction for developing gender-specific information to support decision making and usage for therapeutic users.
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