Patterns and Correlates of Cannabis Use among Individuals with HIV/AIDS in Maritime Canada

Harris, Gregory E. and Dupuis, Lise and Mugford, Gerry and Johnston, Lynn and Haase, David and Page, Ginny and Haldane, Heather and Harris, Nicholas and Midodzi, W.K. and Dow, Gordon (2014) Patterns and Correlates of Cannabis Use among Individuals with HIV/AIDS in Maritime Canada. Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, 25 (1). e1-e7. ISSN 1918-1493

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BACKGROUND: The prevalence of cannabis use in HIV-infected individuals is high and its long-term effects are unclear. METHODS: The prevalence, perceived benefits and consequences, and predictors of cannabis use were studied using a cross-sectional survey in two immunodeficiency clinics in Maritime Canada. RESULTS: Current cannabis use was identified in 38.5% (87 of 226) of participants. Almost all cannabis users (85 of 87 [97.7%]) acknowledged its use for recreational purposes, with 21.8% (19 of 87) reporting medicinal cannabis use. The majority of patients enrolled in the present study reported mild or no symptoms related to HIV (n=179). Overall, 80.5% (70 of 87) of the cannabis-using participants reported a symptom-relieving benefit, mostly for relief of stress, anorexia or pain. Participants consumed a mean (± SD) of 18.3±21.1 g of cannabis per month and spent an average of $105.15±109.87 on cannabis per month. Cannabis use was associated with rural residence, lower income level, driving under the influence of a substance, and consumption of ecstasy and tobacco. Income level, ecstasy use and tobacco use were retained as significant predictors in regression modelling. Cannabis use was not associated with adverse psychological outcomes. DISCUSSION: Prolonged previous cannabis consumption and the substantial overlap between recreational and medicinal cannabis use highlight the challenges in obtaining a tenable definition of medicinal cannabis therapy.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 11989
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Keywords: Cannabis, High-risk behaviour, HIV/AIDS
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 2014
Date Type: Publication
Geographic Location: Maritime Canada
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