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Protocol for a feasibility study investigating the UCalgary’s Cannabis Café: education and harm reduction initiative for postsecondary students
  1. Joel Mader1,
  2. Jacqueline M Smith1,
  3. Jennifer Smith1,
  4. Darren Robert Christensen2
  1. 1 Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  2. 2 Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Joel Mader; joel.mader{at}


Introduction High rates of cannabis consumption among emerging adults in Canada represent an important public health issue. As part of the legalisation of cannabis, health objectives were established by the Government of Canada including reducing risky patterns of consumption and cannabis related harm among vulnerable populations. Despite these ambitions, few evidenced based education programmes have been evaluated in the literature. The aim of this study is to describe and evaluate the acceptability of a novel harm reduction and education initiative titled, UCalgary’s Cannabis Café. The Cannabis Café incorporates components shown to be effective in reducing risky substance consumption on campuses and substance related stigma. An important objective of the Café is the dissemination of methods to reduce risk in the form of Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines.

Methods and analysis The study will take the form of a non-experimental, observational cohort design, where participants will be asked to complete four surveys (baseline, immediate follow-up, 1 month and 3 months). The primary outcomes of the study will be the feasibility of the initiative including acceptability and implementation. Secondary outcomes include knowledge uptake of methods to reduce risk of cannabis related harm, descriptive cannabis norms and changes in cannabis consumption.

Ethics and dissemination The study was approved by the University of Calgary Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (#REB18-1364). The investigators will develop a guideline outlining the Cannabis Café to assist in the replication of this initiative at other locations and publish the results from the study in a peer-reviewed manuscript.

  • cannabis
  • harm reduction
  • prevention
  • education
  • post secondary students

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript and the design of this study. JM was primarily responsible for the development of the Cannabis Café including the evaluation design and preparing the first draft of the manuscript. JMS oversaw the development of the Cannabis Café, assisted in the evaluation design and made significant contributions to the protocol and manuscript. JS assisted in the development of the Cannabis Café, evaluation plan and assisted in the development of the manuscript. DRC provided guidance in the development of the evaluation and provided assistance in preparing the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by Health Canada, Substance Use and Addictions Program grant number 1819-HQ-000109.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the University of Calgary Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (#REB18-1364).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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