What we learned. Here you will find details of our findings on the project. We would love to hear your feedback on what we have heard and seen, and your suggestions for further topics or areas of exploration. You can contact us here or connect with us through our social media channels.
FINAL RESEARCH REPORT
PROMISING PRACTICES GUIDE
See below a snapshot of some of the from our project. This data was captured through our survey distributed by our peer researchers. To see a further breakdown of the demographics of study participants and full survey data analysis, click on the relevant documents below.
To see a further breakdown of the demographics of study participants and full survey data analysis, click on the relevant documents below
WHAT WE HEARD
Key themes from the project data
STORIES WE HEARD
I started smoking when I was 16 because my friends were using it. I was against drugs for years but then one day I was like, woah I like this. It’s completely different now though, to when I first started smoking. Now when I smoke, I don’t get that intense effect anymore and I mostly just smoke it to keep my brain in check. When I am not high on weed, I am always thinking about every single conversation I’ve had with people. All the different scenarios of how it could have gone. When I’m high on weed, that stops, and I can relax. I usually just smoke alone, and I don’t think I would ever think to share that I smoke weed with a doctor or anyone, as I would definitely feel judged. Just because your belief system says this is bad, you can’t push that onto me. I think cannabis use is a lot more normalized now though, especially since you can walk into a store and buy it. Nobody says anything to me for walking down the street and smoking a joint, but before legalization, I feel somebody would have said something. Now I don’t have to think in the back of my head, I hope a cop doesn’t drive by.
I’ve used cannabis since I was 12. I find it really helps me. Cannabis helped me taper off methadone, so I think it’s a great option now that it’s legal. You always had to sneak it right? Now when I smoke, I just go right on my doorstep and not have to worry about what people think. It’s a lot more accessible now and smoking publicly has been fantastic because I can hang out with people and smoke instead of hiding away. And I don’t feel like people are judging me as much, it’s been destigmatized. Before, you had to go and speak to a doctor, tell them all your issues, you had to tell them about any addictions, about your sleep, your depression, your anxiety. You go through a bunch of questions, and only then, if you passed, you could order it medically. And now suddenly all of these dispensaries started opening up in Calgary, and you can just go there, you don’t need a doctor to tell you. I think it’s great. People are able to know what their dose is and pick what works for them. I was a functioning alcoholic but once I quit, I never looked back. For me, pot is harm reduction. There’s no comparison, you can keep your alcohol forever.
I didn’t start using cannabis until I was in my 20’s. I was scared and that was the first time I had ever had a couple of puffs of a joint. I was really high and then just kind of stayed away from it. Later is when I actually started using oils, and gummies, and trying it a little bit more, and seeing which ones I liked, which ones I didn’t like, and just kind of gauging from that. I trust the government to know what they are allowing. I expect them to have that in the bag because that is what they’re there for, it’s part of their job description. On the streets, black market there isn’t that - they wash it out and buff it up. I don’t think that the government would be doing it with anything that would be harmful. I personally don’t care about people’s opinions on cannabis use that much, that’s their business and I’m glad that it’s been made legal. Now there is less stigma about using it and I can go and pick it up and take it home or take it to the park without worrying about it. For me, smoking is a luxury, it’s good for my health but I also like to use it recreationally. Finding somewhere to live, decent housing is a bigger concern for me than smoking pot or taking a gummy.
I started smoking when I was 18. I was living with a partner who smoked and it looked like they were having a fun time. It centers me to the moment and helps make everything feel just a little easier. It also amplifies all the fun emotions like laughter and makes it that much better of an experience. If my cannabis use was ever bad, it was a reaction to my stress levels being off the charts. It was a symptom of my problems and a coping mechanism which generally did help. Most psychiatric meds don’t have this, they require weeks to start working, weeks to stop affecting you and create a physical dependency in your body and could permanently change your brain chemistry. The last time I saw a psychiatrist, he pretty much told me to quit and that was a no-no to me. I am not going to be told by a doctor to quit smoking weed, that doctor can tell me to slow down or try something new but to tell me to quit no. I am not going to have a doctor or someone in the medical field tell me to quit, they probably mean well but I don’t need someone to tell me what to do with my life, so I am not going to let a doctor tell me that, especially if I am putting my trust and physical and mental health in a doctor. I don’t believe that the stigma has completely been eliminated, I would say that for a good amount of people the legalization really did not matter. It’s hard enough trying to access counselling support for my mental health right now. The waiting lists are so long, so if am able to manage my own mental health with cannabis, then I’m not going to have a medical professional tell me I can’t do that.