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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2015 Jan-Mar;47(1):10-7. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2014.991858.

Stigma among California's Medical Marijuana Patients.

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a Research Analyst, Center for Program Design and Evaluation , Dartmouth College , Lebanon , NH.


The enactment of California's Proposition 215 stipulates that patients may use marijuana for medical reasons, provided that it is recommended by a physician. Yet, medical marijuana patients risk being stigmatized for this practice. This article examines the way in which medical marijuana patients perceive and process stigma, and how it affects their interactions and experiences with others. Eighteen semi-structured interviews of medical marijuana patients were carried out using a semi-structured interview guide. Most patients circumvented their own physicians in obtaining a recommendation to use medicinal marijuana, and also used a host of strategies in order to justify their medical marijuana use to family, friends, and colleagues in order to stave off potential stigma. The stigmatization of medical marijuana thus has a profound effect on how patients seek treatment, and whether they seek medical marijuana treatment at all.


California; medical marijuana; patients; policy; qualitative; stigma

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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