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Marijuana use is increasing in Canada

Pretend it’s the 1960s and bring on the pot! According to the 2004 Canadian Addiction Survey (CAS), there is a steady increase in marijuana use over the past decade.

In 1994, 28 per cent of Canadian young adults 18 years and older reported using marijuana at least once in their life; today that number has increased to 45 per cent. 14 percent reported using marijuana this past year, indicating a seven per cent increase since 1994.

“Despite the obvious problem of increased usage, there is the issue of using tobacco in joints or pipe smoking to assist in burning or to titrate the effect of marijuana, says Dr. Scott Leatherdale, researcher at Cancer Care Ontario, University of Waterloo and University of Toronto. “There is an urgent need to examine the relationship between tobacco and marijuana use among this at-risk population more closely.”

In 2004, approximately 1.9 million Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24 reported trying marijuana and 1.1 million reported using in the last year. While 590,000 reported using pot three or less times per month, 430,000 of all young adults reported using the green guy weekly or daily.

Of the young adults surveyed, 960,000 were current smokers. 34 per cent of them reported using marijuana at least once a week while 13 per cent smoked marijuana everyday.

“Another big problem is young adults from rural communities experiment more with substances like this and have a higher frequency of use than young adults from urban communities,” Leatherdale continues.

“On top of that, studies indicated that it is not uncommon for youth to have either tried marijuana prior to trying cigarettes or at the same time they started using tobacco.

A substantial number of former smokers reported using marijuana, which may cause a relapse to tobacco addiction.”

It is clear interventions need to be taken in regards to marijuana use, especially with young adults, as both tobacco and marijuana can serve as “gateway” drugs to one another.

Special to The Times Review

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