cannabis harm reduction
cannabis harm reduction

Cannabis and Mental Health: Harm Reduction Strategies

How can medical marijuana help with mental health and harm reduction?

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Saturday Aug 15, 2020

Cannabis and Mental Health: Harm Reduction Strategies

weed for harm reduction

The relationship between cannabis and mental health has always been one that has attracted much inquiry due to the psychoactive nature of some of the cannabinoids and how this applies to mental health. The inquiry into the possibility of cannabis use promoting mental health problems such as psychosis and schizophrenia has gained prominence due to the fact that cannabis use has continued to gain acceptance in many regions of the world. A lot of the stereotypic views of many regarding cannabis use is due to the conventional method of use, smoking and vaping. However, this has grossly reduced with the incorporation of newer innovative methods of using cannabis.

Now that more people make use of cannabis, either for medicinal or recreational use through the use of edibles, foods, drinks, and tinctures, the question on the possibility of mental health risks has been asked the more.

There is a lot of debate when it comes to mental health risks and cannabis use because some experts have stated that cannabis only promotes mental health issues in persons that are at risk of being predisposed to mental health problems while some have posited that cannabis itself is the causative agent behind the mental health problems in some cannabis users.

Medical Cannabis Helping With Harm Reduction from CannabisNet on Vimeo.


Cannabis and Mental Health

Cannabis contains THC whose psychoactive nature and ability to promote intense bursts of energy have prompted some adverse effects such as paranoia, anxiety, and memory impairment. High levels of THC is said  to promote the onset of some of these issues in some cannabis users. This is why some associated cannabis use as the predominant cause of mental illness in some cannabis users. This view  is however unsubstantiated. Also, it should be noted that CBD,  the non-psychoactive cannabinoid of the cannabis plant has the ability to help with different mental health problems such as depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. This goes to show the reason why it is important for more relevant studies to be carried out in the aspect of cannabis and mental health.

In order to get common ground between the notion of cannabis producing mental health problems and whether it is only in people who have a risk of being predisposed to it due to familial history or other environmental and psychological factors, there needs to be concrete studies on both sides. However, this shouldn't keep us from seeking ways of reducing the apparent harm that may be affecting the mental health of some cannabis users. And although cannabis cannot be singled out as the causative agent of the problem, the need to reduce these apparent risks is still very important.

Harm reduction strategies

In a bid to reduce the risks to the mental health of many, there are different steps and strategies that can be employed and can be encouraged among the cannabis society. It is important that this information is made readily available in order to properly and actively educate all who are concerned in the cannabis world. The steps that can be taken include;

Abstinence: This is one particular strategy that may prove difficult to promote in some persons that are already used to cannabis but it is important and the need for people that are at risks of mental health problems or are naturally predisposed to it due to family history and other factors to abstain from the use of cannabis. This strategy has to be strongly encouraged also among people that have suffered from mental health issues in times past because the THC levels in some cannabis strains can also promote anxiety, delusions, and paranoia.

Use cannabis with lower THC content: The predominant factor that promotes the mental health issues in some cannabis users is the THC embedded in such cannabis products and when these THC levels are higher than needed, they promote such mental problems as an adverse effect. This is why it is advisable that persons at risk of mental health issues only use cannabis strains that have a reduced level of THC.

Higher CBD to THC ratio: Another important measure that can be used to reduce the risk of mental health problems in many cannabis users is to ensure that cannabis contains a very good ratio of CBD to THC. This is because the presence of CBD reduces the effect and intoxicating action of THC thereby removing some of the mental health risks that need to be avoided.

Avoid illicit cannabis: Though dosing is very important, it must also be stated that the quality of cannabis and the true profile of the CBD and THC concentration must be properly understood and so it is best to avoid procuring cannabis from illicit sources.


The relationship between cannabis and mental health is still fairly a mystery. Extensive studies are still required to fully understand just how much of an impact cannabis has on the brain either positively or negatively. Until this is done, it's highly advisable that users know their limits. Go slow with your dosage, don't rush yourself.








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