Patterns and factors of problematic marijuana use in the Canadian population: Evidence from three cross-sectional surveys

W.I. Andrew Bonner, Mustafa Andkhoie, Charlene Thompson, Marwa Farag, Michael Szafron


OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study are to describe marijuana use in Canada and explore factors associated with problematic use.

METHODS: Data from the 2010–2012 circulations of the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey were used to create three logistic regression models for the purposes of identifying and comparing factors associated with the degree of marijuana use, as determined via the WHO Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Abuse Involvement Screening Test (non-problematic, problematic) and European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (experiential, recent, current) methods.

RESULTS: Canadians aged 15–24 years are 15 times (p < 0.001) more likely to be current users than Canadians aged 65 or older, with the odds of exhibiting problematic marijuana use being 10 times (p < 0.001) greater. The odds of a male exhibiting problematic marijuana use are 2.46 times (p < 0.001) greater than for females. The odds of exhibiting problematic marijuana use are 41.0% (p = 0.031) and 53.0% (p = 0.008) greater for marijuana users with household incomes $40,000–$80,000 and less than $40,000 respectively compared to those with household income over $80,000. An earlier age of first marijuana use is associated with problematic use but not necessarily with being a current user.

CONCLUSION: The majority of our findings are consistent with the literature, showing that Canadians who are: male, adolescent or young adult, smokers, heavy drinkers, other illicit drug users, and who have poorer mental health status are more likely to engage in any marijuana use, particularly higher levels of marijuana use. These findings can be used to inform the development of policy in Canada to address problematic marijuana use and prepare for its possible legalization.



Cannabis; health policy; smoking; mental health; substance-related disorders

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