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    cannabis prisiones reclusos estudio prisons inmates

    Health Status and Patterns of Cannabis Use in Prisons


    Jailhouse rock: health status, patterns of use, and subjective benefits of cannabis use in a sample of inmates in Spanish prisons

    Raúl Jiménez Vinaja, Miriam Imbernón, Alícia Parés Bayerri, Genís Oña, Òscar Parés, and José Carlos Bouso.

    Revista Española de Sanidad Penitenciaria



    About the study

    This study was carried out by means of a survey to assess quality of life, perceived social support, prison life and cannabis use in a sample of inmates in Spanish prisons.

    It is one of the few studies conducted on cannabis use in the prison context. Previous research has found similar results in terms of psychological benefits and the role of this plant as a substitute for other drugs and medicines.

    There is a need for further research that could support the establishment of harm reduction programmes or even pilot programmes for the dispensation of cannabis within prisons.



    Objectives: To assess the perceived health and quality of life, perceived social support, prison life, and cannabis use among a sample of inmates in Spanish prisons.

    Material and method: We hosted a discussion with inmates in order to learn their reasons for using cannabis (phase 1). Then, a questionnaire was developed specifically for this study (phase 2) containing indicators from the Catalan Health Survey and other items regarding patterns of cannabis use and life in prison. The questionnaire was administered by the authors to a sample of Catalan inmates.

    Results and discussion: A sample of 63 inmates completed the questionnaire. Cannabis was used mainly for therapeutic purposes, which can be interpreted as a coping strategy related to the stress associated with prison life. Nearly half of the subjects used cannabis as a substitution for prescription medications and illicit drugs. It was found that the only variable that predicted self-perceived health status was the number of visits inmates received. This suggests that social support is a key factor for improving the health and well-being of inmates. Cannabis use in prison seems to be related to coping with a challenging context. The benefits and risks of this practice need to be further researched.


    Link to the study


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    Photo by Matthew Henry on Negative Space.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Cannabis
    Tags: quality of life , prison , inmates , coping , cannabis , scientific research , study , health , psychoactive plants