If you are in distress, you can text WELLNESS to 741741 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

Home › Resources › Amplifying Black Experiences in Cannabis and Mental Health Research – Key Takeaways

Amplifying Black Experiences in Cannabis and Mental Health Research – Key Takeaways

Moderated by Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) hosted a virtual dialogue series to identify research priorities and explore challenges and opportunities in the areas of mental health, cannabis and substance use within Black communities.

WHAT WE HEARD

Key takeaways from the dialogues

From nearly five hours of discussions among participants of various ages, genders, professions, and backgrounds, the following key, recurring themes emerged:

  1. There is no single Black community.
  2. To discuss cannabis use in Black communities is to discuss systemic racism and other structural issues in Canadian society.
  3. Cannabis use and mental health issues remain highly stigmatized.
  4. The criminalization of cannabis use, in conjunction with systemic racism, has created a mistrust of institutions and authority.
  5. Canada’s medical community is perceived to have poor knowledge of cannabis.
  6. Participants placed high value on lived experience and cultural relevance when considering information on cannabis use and mental health.
  7. There is little research or credible public information on cannabis or its relationship to mental health — either generally or for Black people.
  8. Research participants should be compensated.
  9. Canada needs race-based and intersectional data on cannabis and mental health.
  10. Many Black cannabis consumers see cannabis as a legitimate means of improving quality of life and treating physical and mental health concerns.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Reflecting on the virtual dialogues, five points stood out as recommended ways that the MHCC and other research funding bodies could build greater knowledge of cannabis and mental health in Canada’s Black communities:

  1. Study cannabis in the proper cultural context.
    To address the most significant and longest-standing barriers to understanding cannabis and mental health in Black communities, new research must take into account the broader issues of stigma, systemic racism, and ongoing institutional mistrust.
  2. Study cannabis consumption and its effects on mental health over time.
    To address knowledge gaps in cannabis use and mental health, Canada needs to support and/or sponsor new longitudinal research into why people consume cannabis — particularly within Black historical and cultural contexts — and the long-term effects on mental health of doing so.
  3. Enable Black researchers to shape research with communities.
    To increase the credibility and cultural relevance of new research into cannabis and mental health within Black communities, research and funding opportunities need to be designed, conducted, and disseminated in collaboration with members of those communities. More broadly, new research proposals should consider race in addition to sex and gender in their data collection.
  4. Build community capacity to lead cannabis education.
    To more effectively inform Black communities of the relationship between cannabis use and mental health, Canada needs to invest in capacity building for education and knowledge transfer within Black community organizations and trusted community leaders.
  5. Validate personal and lived experience of cannabis use for mental health.
    To inform policy and create culturally relevant educational materials, researchers and clinicians need to validate the knowledge gained from personal and lived experience of cannabis use.

To learn more about the Dialogue Series, read the full report.

Feedback Form

Hey, thanks for checking out this resource. After you’ve seen it, we’d love to learn a bit more about your interests and how you found us. Was the information what you looking for? Was it helpful? We’ll use any feedback you provide to further improve what we do. In appreciation, you’ll be automatically entered in a contest where you could win a cash prize or gift certificate. *

Disclaimer:

  • Completion of the form is voluntary.
  • The information collected by the Mental Health Commission of Canada will only be used for the purpose described above.
Are you willing to be contacted within 3 to 6 months for a short follow-up survey?
In case of “Yes” – please provide an email address

SURVEY CONTEST MINI RULES

No purchase necessary. Open to residents of Canada age 13+ who are the intended recipient of an invitation to complete the Mental Health Commission of Canada survey and participate in the contest. Starts October 3, 2022 at 12:00 a.m. ET and ends March 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 6 prizes available: (i) 1 x $500 CAD online retailer gift certificate prize; and (ii) 5 x $50 CAD online retailer gift certificate prizes. Limit 1 entry per person/email. Odds depend on number of eligible entries. Math skill-testing question required. Click here to read Full rules and entry details.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

SHARE THIS PAGE

RELATED

This short, animated video tells the story of our investment in 14 community-based research (CBR) projects to address knowledge gaps in the relation between cannabis and mental health. CBR meaningfully...

Mental health and substance use concerns have remained elevated in all province. The Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction tracked the relationship...

Jes is a community harm reduction support navigator and peer support worker, who has been helping people with lived and living experience of opioid use for over 25 years. Melinda...