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420 with CNW — New Study Suggests Cannabis Handouts Could Curb Drug Overdose Fatalities

A new study published in the “Journal of Harm Reduction” proposes that distributing free marijuana through harm-reduction groups could significantly decrease drug overdose fatalities and enhance the well-being of users. The study, focusing on a cannabis donation initiative in rural Michigan, marks the pioneering documentation of the harm-reduction approach in the United States, suggesting its potential sustainability contingent upon state regulations.

While acknowledging existing obstacles in marijuana distribution and regulation policies, study authors emphasize the perceived advantages recognized by harm-reduction practitioners. Those advantages include reduced premature mortality, enhanced life quality, pain alleviation, better recovery prospects and heightened safety for both communities and clients.

Spanning from September 2021 to May 2023, the observation involved 10 marijuana-experienced harm-reduction participants who received weekly marijuana allocations through deliveries or pickups. The suitability of the allocations was assessed by clinical staff based on interest and need.

Upon reporting their interactions with participants, staff highlighted numerous observed benefits. For instance, a patient (aged 50 years of age or older), having undergone complex spinal fusion surgery, previously struggled with alcohol abstinence but achieved complete sobriety during recovery, expressing gratitude for the pain relief provided by marijuana products. Similarly, a pregnant participant in her 20s, initially homeless and dependent on opioids and methamphetamine, reduced the frequency of substance use with the aid of donated marijuana products after actively seeking assistance from harm-reduction agencies to access treatment for opioid use disorder during pregnancy.

Examining data from a contributing marijuana company, the study unveiled insights into product varieties and donation scales. Notably, while flower products dominated medical and recreational sales, donations primarily comprised topical, oil and edible products. Furthermore, donation costs represented a mere 1% of overall gross sales, falling considerably below the anticipated annual donation volume.

The authors stress the necessity for further research to fully understand the effects on individuals, the implications for public health, the legal requirements and the best practices for marijuana donation. In light of the persistent overdose mortality linked to illicit fentanyl and synthetic contaminants, the report advocates for harm-reduction practitioners to uphold client autonomy and mutual aid, including the provision of safe psychoactive products to drug users.

While refraining from drawing definitive conclusions regarding the overarching efficacy of harm-reduction endeavors, the analysis relies on interviews with the program administrators, outlining the exploratory nature of the study and its focus on depicting the organic evolution of marijuana donation within a regulated state framework. Overall, the findings underscore the viability of such initiatives, notably the minimal contribution of commercial cannabis companies’ donations to their overall product inventory, affirming the potential scalability and sustainability of marijuana donation programs within harm-reduction frameworks.

Further studies may be needed to ascertain the best ways in which these donations can help those at risk of drug overdose death. As this concept becomes better understood, a clearer picture is likely to emerge of how cannabis legalization can be a major force for good in society well beyond allowing an ecosystem of ancillary businesses, such as Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. (NYSE: IIPR), to thrive around the mainstream marijuana industry.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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