Cannabis Users’ Recommended Warnings for Packages of Legally Sold Cannabis: An Australia-Centered Study
Introduction: Although cannabis use creates health risks, governments have recently been legalizing either medical use or leisure use. These governments can mandate health warnings on cannabis packages. Prior research examined recommended warnings of cannabis experts. The aim of this study was to obtain suggested cannabis health and safety warnings from cannabis users.
Methods: We used a media release, Facebook postings, and announcements in university classes to seek individuals who had used cannabis at least once according to their own report. Using online data collection software that keeps participants anonymous, we asked the individuals to suggest a warning that governments could mandate on cannabis packages.
Results: In total, 288 users suggested warnings. Categorizing the warnings into content categories led to six warning topics: (1) risk of harm to mental health and psychological functioning; (2) risk of operating machinery while under the influence; (3) short-term physical side effects; (4) responsible use; (5) long-term negative physical effects; and (6) dependence, addiction, or abuse. The user-suggested warnings overlapped with six expert-recommended warnings identified in prior survey research and included two content areas that did not feature in expert-recommended warnings: short-term physical side effects and the importance of responsible use.
Conclusions: The results are consistent with prior findings that some youths perceive cannabis use as potentially harmful. The current findings provide possible new content for warnings on cannabis packages.