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Increasing Social Support for Bisexual Women who use Cannabis

cannabis-Jeremiah VandermeerBy Margaret Robinson, PhD. Affiliate Scientist in the Social and Epidemiological research department of the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health

I recently led a research project that shows that one in three bisexual women have used cannabis in the past year, a rate three to five times the provincial average.

While US and Australian studies have also identified spiking rates of cannabis use by bisexual women, no print or media campaigns have addressed this issue yet. We’re hoping to create such a campaign, rooted in the lived experience of bisexual women, with funding from Women’s College University’s Women’s Xchange program.

Why are a third of bisexual women using cannabis? In an article I recently published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, we were able to show that bisexual women in Ontario report using cannabis to deal with anxiety. The women in that study connect their anxiety with a lack of bisexual community, a lack of identity support, and with biphobia in LGBTQ communities. Women also reported that attempts to reduce their cannabis use or to access treatment were met with ridicule by their peers in the LGBTQ community.

So what are we doing to address this?

We’ve recruited a team of twelve bisexual women who use cannabis to guide the campaign. This team will work with The Public, a social activist design studio to create posters for use online and in print. The Public has previously produced the bisexual anti-stigma video and poster campaigns “This Is Our Community,” in partnership with the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team and Rainbow Health Ontario.

The goal for our campaign is to increase the peer support available to bisexual women. We believe that peer support can reduce the anxiety prompting cannabis use and assist bisexual women who wish to change or reduce their use of cannabis. On a broader scale, we also hope that this campaign will also increase bisexual visibility, and increase awareness of cannabis use among bisexual women.

We hope to share more about this in the future, including poster mockups, and key messages. Stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled for our campaign posters at select TTC stations near you.

Image courtesy of Jeremiah Vandermeer & Cannabis Culture on Flickr

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