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Cannabis use as harm reduction in the Eastern Caribbean

Marcus Day (Caribbean Drug and Alcohol Research Institute, Castries, St Lucia)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 9 August 2018

Issue publication date: 21 August 2018




The purpose of this paper is to present evidence of the therapeutic value of cannabis as a harm reduction intervention with people who smoke crack cocaine.


A desk study of published peer-reviewed material supporting the use of cannabis as therapeutic in mitigating some of the harms associated with crack cocaine smoking.


The use of cannabis as a harm reduction strategy for crack cocaine use has been commented on in the scientific literature since the 1980s. The officially scheduling of cannabis as having no medicinal value hampered further study despite the reporting of positive findings and numerous calls for more research.

Practical implications

There are currently no approved pharmaceutical substitutions for crack cocaine. Cannabis has shown itself effective in mitigating harms for 30–40 per cent of people. Cannabis is inexpensive and readily available and should be allowed for those people who want to use it.


Poly drug use is often framed in a negative context. In this paper, the author shows that with cannabis and crack, the poly drug use is actually a valid harm reduction strategy.



Day, M. (2018), "Cannabis use as harm reduction in the Eastern Caribbean", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 172-177.



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