A new Canadian study has examined the relationship between youth homelessness and cannabis use, finding that the majority of homeless drug people use cannabis a form of mental health treatment.
In previous research released in 2014, it was found that 98% of homeless young people living in Vancouver or British Columbia used cannabis, leaving researchers wondering why cannabis was so popular.
To find out, academics in Vancouver conducted in-depth interviews with 56 homeless people between 2017 and 2019. Each subject was aged between 16 and 26, with all participants experiencing long term homelessness. Throughout each interview, researchers asked participants questions about their living situations, health and drug use.
While researchers expected high amounts of cannabis use, the results were quite unexpected.
Interestingly, researchers found that all of the young people they interviewed used cannabis for medical reasons. In the results section of the study, researchers wrote:
While most participants derived significant pleasure from the use of cannabism no participants in our study described using cannabis purely for recreational purposes.
According to researchers, the majority of participants were using cannabis to treat mental health problems, with the most common conditions including depression, anxiety and ADHD. Many participants also used cannabis to treat chronic pain, while other participants used cannabis to treat substance abuse. This included as a way to wean themselves off of drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. In the report, researchers noted that participants used more cannabis during times they cycled off of other drugs.
Findings from this study are consistent with another study published earlier this month. Conducted by researchers at the University of Bath, the study found that microdoses of CBD (the non-psychoactive component of cannabis) are an effective treatment for marijuana use disorder.
You can read that study here.