New study will look at cannabis use in territories

Findings may help determine future policies in the North, researchers say

A new study funded by Health Canada will look at cannabis use in Canada’s three territories. (Photo courtesy of Cannabis Tours/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

By Madalyn Howitt

A new three-year study to determine how cannabis is used in Canada’s territories has been launched by a group of university researchers and health experts, with funding from Health Canada.

The study will look at local views and behaviours towards the drug. Behind it are David Hammond, a research chair in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo, and Erin Hobin, a senior scientist at Public Health Ontario.

Hammond has been studying cannabis use and legalization for over a decade and said he’s often asked by international researchers about cannabis use in Canada but hasn’t been able to offer a clear picture of how it is used in the territories.

“This has always been a blind spot,” he said, explaining that small populations and few official studies in the region have led to a lack of concrete data on cannabis use.

“We really don’t have very good estimates, but the estimates we do have suggests that cannabis use is quite a bit higher in the northern territories [than in] Canadian provinces, so if nothing else, we’re hoping to get a better estimate of that.”

David Hammond, a professor of health sciences at the University of Waterloo, is co-leading a new study of cannabis used in the territories. (Photo courtesy of David Hammond)

Ultimately, the goal of the study is to provide decision-makers with data that can be used to form cannabis policies specific to the region, he said.

“Now that it’s the government’s responsibility, we have to learn how to regulate cannabis, so that’s everything from what kind of products are out there … [to] how many stores should there be,” he said.

To gather more robust data, Hammond said he hopes to hear from people who use cannabis as well as people who don’t. He acknowledges some communities have resisted dispensaries and that’s an issue researchers hope to learn more about.

“When we legalized it federally, there was a majority in support, but … it wasn’t overwhelming,” he said.

“There’s lots of folks that didn’t like the idea, so it’s an area where there’s lots of different opinions … It doesn’t surprise me that there are communities in the North that are trying to discuss whether this is something that they want in their community or not.”

Hammond says the research isn’t going to come from the perspective of whether cannabis is “good” or “bad,” but to gain an understanding of how best to regulate the drug, especially now that there are more products on the market, from vape oils to edibles to concentrates.

The first wave of the study runs from Sept. 7 to Nov. 15. Residents of Nunavut, Yukon or the Northwest Territories who are over the age of 16 can participate in the study by answering an online survey in English, French, Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Eli Aullaluk on

    The study of the use of canabbis should have included the Nunavik region of Quebec.

    • Posted by NUNAVIMIUK on

      Eli pot use has been studied in one form or another , just dust off some old one and pass it off with a new one

  2. Posted by Shatter on

    Too much shatter being used in the north. This version of cannabis super concentrated is ruining lives and families. Also, a lot of fires in public housing units can directly be linked to the illegal manufacturing of shatter.

    • Posted by John K on

      Source? Or did you “Do YoUr OwN rEsEaRcH”?

  3. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    I support medical marijuana. it has been proven to help people, cancer patients.

    personally, I do not choose to take part in any drugs. well, except coffee, but that is all.

    I agree about Shatter. seeing what it does to our young people and family is scary. people who have smoked too much marijuana and choose to chase the high by going to harder drugs like shatter is so sad to see. there have been a couple of medevac flights for patients due to smoking too much shatter and their lungs are still not the same.

    it’s a scary drug and I hope it’s brought to light.

  4. Posted by Uvanga on

    Fully support this study! I hope people comply and participate in this as knowing that facts and what we as Inuit are dealing with and the impacts to our healthcare system. This will help prepare what we need to focus on in the future. One on alcohol and impacts to children should be done as well. More data to support our ongoing efforts to healthier choices.

  5. Posted by John K on

    The weird pearl clutching over cannabis concentrates is troubling and makes me think that there is going to be a metric ton of huperbole and fear mongering mixed up in this “study”.

    • Posted by iThink on

      There is credible research on the dangers of shatter (butane hash oil) though.

      That said, I think you’re right that a study like this will elicit a fair share of hyperbole and give people who have a strong bias against cannabis an outlet to unleash their delusions on the rest of us, so it can be with qualitative research.

  6. Posted by Thomas Aggark on

    conservatives are way better off. what a bs liberals. no use drug use should be banned from canada, if conservatives willing to do that, vote conservatives next vote.

    • Posted by Get used to it on

      Guaranteed the Conservatives will not reverse the decision to make weed legal in Canada. Aside from the revenues it brings in, there’s now huge companies in Canada that would go bankrupt, many employees losing jobs. That’s just political suicide.
      Canopy Growth is worth $6.05 billion.
      Tilray is worth $3.62 billion.
      Cronos worth $2.90 billion.
      Aurora Cannabis worth $1.75 billion.
      Nah. It’s here to stay.

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