Based on data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey—Mental Health, past-year and lifetime marijuana use among the household population aged 15 or older in the 10 provinces was examined. In 2012, 42.5% of the population reported having ever used marijuana, and 12.2% reported use in the past year. At 33.3%, the prevalence of past-year marijuana use was higher among 18- to 24-year-olds than among other age groups (20.0% at ages 15 to 17, 15.6% at ages 25 to 44, 6.7% at ages 45 to 64, and 0.8% at age 65 or older). Past-year use was higher in British Columbia and Nova Scotia and lower in Saskatchewan, compared with the rest of Canada. While the overall percentage of people reporting past-year use in 2012 was unchanged from 2002, the percentage of males who had ever used marijuana rose from 47.0% to 49.4%; among females, the prevalence of lifetime use remained stable at 36%.
Cannabis, illicit drugs, risk behaviour, substance use
According to the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey–Mental Health (CCHS–MH), 12.2% of Canadians aged 15 or older (3.4 million) used marijuana in the past year. In Canada, as in many other countries, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. A dose-response relationship has been observed between the frequency of marijuana use during adolescence and reduced cognitive functioning, educational attainment, longer-term personal disadvantage, and marijuana dependence. Daily users are at the highest risk of experiencing negative outcomes. There is a growing consensus that marijuana use can harm developing adolescent brains. The association between marijuana use and mental illness is less clear. Estimation of the potential risks and the decision to use marijuana is further complicated because some countries, including Canada, allow marijuana to be authorized for medical purposes. Other research has suggested that an individual’s perception of risk may be reduced in places with medical marijuana laws. [Full Text]
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