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Therapeutic use of cannabis: Prevalence and characteristics among adults in Ontario, Canada

Hayley A. Hamilton, Bruna Brands, Anca R. Ialomiteanu, Robert E. Mann


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the prevalence of therapeutic cannabis use within a general population sample of adults and to describe various characteristics associated with use.

METHODS: Data were derived from the 2013 and 2014 CAMH Monitor Survey of adults in Ontario, Canada. This repeated cross-sectional survey employed a regionally stratified design and utilized computer-assisted telephone interviewing. Analyses were based on 401 respondents who reported using cannabis.

RESULTS: The data indicated that 28.8% of those who used cannabis in the past year self-reported using cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Of therapeutic users, 15.2% reported having medical approval to use cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Cannabis use for therapeutic purposes was associated with more frequent use of cannabis, a moderate to high risk of problematic cannabis use, and a greater likelihood of using prescription opioids for medical purposes. There was little difference in cannabis use for therapeutic purposes according to sex, age, and marital status after adjusting for opioid use and problematic cannabis use.

CONCLUSION: Findings suggest some potential negative consequences of cannabis use for therapeutic purposes; however, further research is needed to better understand the range and patterns of use and their corresponding vulnerabilities.


Medical cannabis use; medical marijuana use; prescription opioids; problematic cannabis use

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