Researchers at Humber College have launched a new “Weed Out Misinformation Campaign” to eliminate myths around cannabis and help educate both new and experienced cannabis consumers.
Cannabis researchers and students at Humber created Weed Out Misinformation after surveying 1,600 Canadian cannabis consumers about how they accessed information about cannabis, who they trusted to deliver cannabis information, and what topics they wanted to see in public education campaigns about cannabis.
“We hope that an honest, scientifically based, and stigma-free discussion about cannabis helps people make informed decisions and maximize benefits when they consume cannabis,” reads the website. “This project represents the first concerted effort to develop a scientifically accurate, harm-reduction focused cannabis public education campaign that is based on a human-centred design approach, with synchronized materials for both in-store and online engagement.”
The robust website contains articles and videos dealing with common cannabis myths, mental health and cannabis, alternatives to smoking cannabis, overconsumption, how to buy cannabis, and understanding edibles and drinks.
A grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) College and Community Innovation Fund funded the research. Daniel Bear, Ph.D., a professor in Humber’s Faculty of Social and Community Services, received the grant as the principal investigator. The project was in partnership with Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Canadian Public Health Association.
The researchers learned that stigma – and perceived stigma – turns cannabis consumers off from many public education efforts, according to a Humber College news release. This discovery demonstrated the need for a human-centred approach, which brought the voices of cannabis consumers into their research throughout the entire process.
“From our initial research, we found that young people are feeling stigmatized, and they wanted access to reliable sources of information about cannabis,” said Bear in the news release. “For too long, the focus has been on potential harm to dissuade use, but that approach hasn’t reduced consumption and hasn’t kept consumers safe. This new campaign dispels myths and provides young cannabis consumers with a safe space in which the discussion of it feels normalized.”
The Engaging and Educating Young-Adult Cannabis Consumers (EEYCC) project, led by Bear, aims to engage and educate young cannabis consumers who are 18 to 30 years old. The campaign focuses on harm-reduction and myth-busting research, examining how young adult cannabis consumers are getting their cannabis information, and dispelling common myths rooted in decades of prohibitionist drug education.
The EEYCC project launched in 2020 with funding from NSERC.
Visit the website at weedoutmisinformation.ca