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ID: HR23-290
Presenting author: Martin Bastien

Presenting author biography:

Martin Bastien is a PhD student in Public Health at the University of Aix-Marseille (France). Using a multidisciplinary approach, his research topics include psychoactive substances and Harm Reduction. His current research focus on regular cannabis users’ practices in France and the subjective benefits and risks associated with cannabis consumption.

Cannabis self-cultivation in the French prohibitive context: Results from an online survey on daily cannabis users

Martin Bastien, Cécile Donadille, Laélia Briand Madrid, Maela Lebrun, Victor Martin, Perrine Roux
Background: Although all cannabis use is illegal in France, it is still a widely used substance in the general population. Cannabis is mainly supplied from the illegal market, but little is known about regular users who cultivate their own cannabis. We aimed to characterize cannabis self-cultivators in France and explore the motivations for this practice.

Methodology: We used two surveys on daily cannabis users: Cannavid 1 (N=3840) and Cannavid 2 (N=574), conducted during the COVID pandemic in collaboration with a French harm reduction association. We collected the following data: sociodemographic, self-reported health, cannabis and other substance use patterns, and the main cannabis supply source. In the Cannavid 1 survey, we performed a multivariable logistic regression model to assess factors associated with ‘self-cultivation’ as the main supply source. In the Cannavid 2 survey, participants specified the main reason for cannabis cultivation and the associated patterns.

Results: About 11% and 16% reported growing their own cannabis in Cannavid 1 and 2 surveys, respectively. Older age, male gender, having stable housing and having outdoor space, rural place of residence, herbal cannabis form, less tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking, non-smoked routes of cannabis administration and therapeutic use of cannabis were associated with cannabis self-cultivation. The main reasons for cannabis cultivation were ‘ensuring quality’ and ‘avoiding the illegal market’. In addition, few participants reported selling a part of their production and most participants reported being self-sufficient in their consumption.

Conclusion: The profile emerging from our results suggests that these cannabis users may be more health conscious and inclined to a reasonable cannabis use, and challenges the dominant discourse about ‘cannabis users as drug abusers’. Hence, cannabis self-cultivation may be understood as a rational choice to bypass the negative effects of the unregulated market, specifically concerning the fluctuating quality of cannabis.