“Smoking is better than taking pills”: A Longitudinal Qualitative Study of Cannabis Use and Symptom Management Among People Living with HIV

Funding body: CIHR

Background: The broad objective of this study is to better understand the symptom management experience of this cohort of people living with HIV and the influence of legalization on their cannabis use as a symptom management strategy. Specifically, this study will provide much-needed evidence about the impact of legalization on this cohort over time and their ability to engage in symptom management. A longitudinal approach will enable us to document four domains of potential change as experienced by participants: Individual: how PLWH use cannabis and how this changes over time, or not, in relation to legalization (e.g., quantity, access, delivery methods, symptom relief, quality of life, health, safety); Service: how PLWH experience changes to health care and social service delivery within the context of legalization (e.g., access to medical cannabis, willingness to prescribe, quality of care); Policy: how PLWH experience subsequent policy changes in response to legalization within the healthcare system and individual care settings (e.g., coverage, costs, distribution systems); and Structural: how PLWH experience cannabis use in relation to broader issues such as poverty, disability, stigma, and criminalization of drug use.

Progress to date: In progress.