Exploring the perceptions of psychiatric patients regarding marijuana use
Sehularo, Leepile Alfred
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There is little understanding of marijuana use by psychiatric patients, specifically regarding the issue why they continue smoking marijuana in spite of the negative consequences, such as being readmitted to psychiatric hospitals due to a diagnosis called marijuana–induced psychosis. Therefore, it is important to understand why psychiatric patients continue to use marijuana, despite experiencing its negative effects on their condition. From the above background, the researcher identified the need to explore and describe the perceptions of psychiatric patients regarding marijuana use in Potchefstroom, North–West Province. The exploration and description of these psychiatric patients' perceptions regarding marijuana use will provide insight into more appropriate care and treatment in order to reduce the readmissions of psychiatric patients due to marijuana–induced psychosis. A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design was followed in order to give 'voice' to the perceptions of psychiatric patients regarding marijuana use. Purposive sampling was utilised to identify participants who complied with the set selection criteria. The sample size was determined by data saturation, which was reached after ten individual interviews with psychiatric patients. Unstructured individual interviews were utilised to gather data after written approval from the research ethics committee of the North–West University (Potchefstroom campus), North–West Provincial Department of Health, the clinical manager of the psychiatric hospital where data were collected, as well as from the psychiatric patients. After the co–coder and the researcher of the study analysed the data independently, a meeting was scheduled to reach consensus on the categories and subcategories that emerged from the data. The findings of this study indicated perceptions that psychiatric patients have on: the use of marijuana, the negative effects of marijuana use, marijuana use and mental illness, and stopping the use of marijuana. From this results it seems that although some patients realise that stopping the use of marijuana might be difficult, some patients want to walk the extra mile by helping other people to stop smoking marijuana. It is of specific interest that psychiatric patients seem to expect external groups to take responsibility on their behalf to terminate the use of marijuana, namely: foreigners, the police and the Rastafarians. From the findings, literature and the conclusions of this study, recommendations in the fields of nursing education, nursing research as well as nursing practice were made.
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