Cannabis in our Communities
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A Focus on youth and maternal health and well-being.
With the Cannabis in Our Communities project, Pauktuutit is responding to Inuit need for accurate, useful, and relatable information about cannabis and its use. Given the recent legalization, assumptions may be made about the health and safety of cannabis, it is essential to have the facts to make informed decisions about cannabis use.
Scientists do not yet know all the effects (good, bad or otherwise) cannabis has on our mind and body. However, we do know that using cannabis during youth and pregnancy can be risky, as it can interfere with the normal development of our brains and babies.
The overall goal of the Cannabis in Our Communities project is to reduce the possible harms associated with cannabis by informing Inuit of them, thereby promoting Inuit youth and maternal health.
We will use a holistic, gender and trauma-informed, strength-based approach, characteristic of Inuit to complete this research project. The focus will be on increasing awareness, reducing stigma, and harm reduction, rather than abstinence.
- We will engage with expecting or young parents and Inuit youth through focus groups, online surveys and interviews across Inuit Nunangat and urban centres. We will gather Inuit knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours regarding cannabis. This will help us find out what gaps in knowledge and resources Pauktuutit can help fill while building on best practices already taking place.
- Then, we will create resources addressing these needs and gaps. We will share the information and resources we create with individuals and service providers across Inuit Nunangat to equip and empower Inuit to make healthy and informed decisions about cannabis use.
- Finally, we will revisit communities and urban centres engaging with individuals to see if and how views, beliefs and habits around cannabis have changed and how we can continue to support Inuit around cannabis.
By determining what strategies work for Inuit in different age groups and settings, these strategies can be improved and applied to promote youth and maternal health outcomes regarding cannabis use.
Quick Facts about Cannabis:
- As of 2018 cannabis was the most widely used illegal drug in Europe and North America. Rates of cannabis use among Inuit are higher than both Canadians in general and Indigenous people in Canada. 
- Two-thirds of 15- to 19-year-old Inuit participants from a study in Nunavik self-reported using cannabis in the past year.
- Cannabis use in adolescence is prevalent and increasing.
- Interviews conducted in 2011 found cannabis was the most frequently used illicit drug used during pregnancy.
 Brunelle N, Plourde C, Landry M, et al. Patterns of psychoactive substance use among youths in Nunavik. Indittera 2010 ; 2:1–12.
 Brunelle N, Plourde C, Landry M, et al. Patterns of psychoactive substance use among youths in Nunavik. Indittera 2010; 2:1–12.
 Coffey, C. & Patton, G. C. (2016). Cannabis Use in Adolescence and Young Adulthood: A Review of Findings from the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study. Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, 61 (6), 318 – 327. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743716645289
 Muckle, Gina et al. “Alcohol, smoking, and drug use among Inuit women of childbearing age during pregnancy and the risk to children.” Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research vol. 35,6 (2011): 1081-91. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01441.x