Harm reduction, as defined by the Harm Reduction Coalition, is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use, or specific activity. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use alternative substances.
The Cannabis Doula uses harm reduction to incorporate a spectrum of strategies, from our S.A.F.E. strategies for cannabis consumption and tracking and managing use, to examining cannabis quality and cessation to meet cannabis moms, or cannabis choosing families where they are, addressing the conditions of and for their cannabis use along with the cannabis itself.
The Cannabis Doula considers the following Principles of Harm Reduction central in supporting women and families who choose cannabis:
• The Cannabis Doula accepts that licit and illicit cannabis consumption is part of our world, our society, and our culture and therefore chooses to work to minimize any potential harmful effects or misinformation rather than ignore or condemn it’s use.
• The Cannabis Doula understands that cannabis is a complex and multi-faceted plant and it’s use encompasses a continuum of behaviors from abuse or misuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some methods of consuming cannabis may be safer than others.
• The Cannabis Doula establishes that the well-being and quality of the individual, family, and community life is the criteria for successful interventions and policies, not necessarily cessation of cannabis use.
• The Cannabis Doula calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of birth and family support services and resources to families of color who use cannabis and the communities in which they live in order to assist them inbecoming informed cannabis consumers.
• The Cannabis Doula urges communities to work together to Shatter The Stigma associated with cannabis use during pregnancy and any policies that may have resulted from the stigma and led to discriminatory practices such as nonconsensual drug testing of women and babies at childbirth.
• The Cannabis Doula moves to ensures that women and birthing families who use cannabis, and have traditionally and historically consumed cannabis, routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
• The Cannabis Doula affirms that birthing people themselves are the primary agents in reducing the harms of their cannabis consumption, and seeks to empower women to share information and support each other in strategies which meet the conditions of their cannabis use.
• The Cannabis Doula recognizes that the realities of racism, class, poverty, social stigma and isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities—including the War on Drugs, cannabis propaganda and misinformation-- affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively seeking cannabis education and care to reduce harm.
• The Cannabis Doula does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger caused by the War on Drugs and cannabis prohibition to Black and Latino women, men, children, and families.
The Cannabis Doula believes that women who use cannabis during pregnancy deserve evidence based information, support, and care in their consumption and all women should have the option of choosing medical cannabis to support them during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
We work from a psychoeducational intervention model and harm reduction framework to assist families in making informed decisions on cannabis.
To book a workshop at your birth center, hospital, or dispensary contact Melanie firstname.lastname@example.org.