Researchers Find Halifax Consumes the Most Cannabis in Canada

Researchers Discover Halifax Consumes the Most Cannabis in Canada

Researchers in Canada have determined that the city of Halifax consumes the most cannabis per capita out of five major urban areas in the nation. The study by Statistics Canada, the federal statistics agency, examined wastewater from 15 sewage treatment plants serving Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver to determine average cannabis use per individual in the cities. Over 8 million Canadians live in the areas surveyed for the study.

The technology employed in the study, known as wastewater-based epidemiology, has been used in Europe since 2007 to track drug consumption in large cities. The present pilot study by Statistics Canada is the first use of the technology in that country.

“Statistics Canada is still exploring the benefits and limitations of using WBE to make statistics on drug usage,” the agency wrote in a report about the research published last week.

Researchers examined wastewater samples from the five urban areas to determine the levels of a cannabis metabolite known as THC-COOH.  The results of the study suggest that between March and August of the year Halifax had the maximum intake of cannabis per person per week at 1,310 micrograms. Montreal had the second-highest amount at 976 micrograms per person per week. The figure for Toronto was 451 micrograms, Edmonton had 416, and Vancouver consumed 288 micrograms. Overall, Canadians in the study areas consumed cannabis at a speed of 540 micrograms per person per week.

Statistics Canada reported that the outcomes were “preliminary and experimental” and that large differences in monthly levels “may not necessarily reflect a genuine difference in consumption, but might be the result of sampling or statistical methodology. ”

“Subsequent evaluations and results will allow the agency to better evaluate the long-term feasibility of using wastewater as an official information source,” the report mentioned.

The study was conducted in an attempt to find out if Canadians are under-reporting their use of cannabis due to the stigma associated with the drug. Inaccurate data about consumption can lead to difficulty in determining how much cannabis is being provided by unregulated sources.

“One consequence of under-reporting is the size of the black market for cannabis will be likewise suppressed,” the report says.

“Consequently, with no direct measurement of cannabis consumption, the reduction of the black market for cannabis, one of the aims of the legalization of non-medical cannabis, will be hard to track. ”

One of the stated goals of legalization was to limit the effect of criminal enterprises on cannabis supplies for the nation.

The Statistics Canada wastewater-based epidemiology pilot study is slated to continue through the spring of 2019. The agency will then determine if the technology will continue to be used.

“Statistics Canada is still exploring the benefits and limitations of using WBE to make statistics on drug usage. Subsequent tests and results will allow the agency to better evaluate the long-term feasibility of using wastewater as an official information source,” notes the study.

Released at Mon, 03 Dec 2018 19:02:08 +0000

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