People in Halifax consume the most cannabis, data suggests
HALIFAX — A new study from Statistics Canada draws data from an unexpected source to suggest Halifax has the highest rate of cannabis consumption per capita among five urban centres.
The national statistics agency launched its study in March, using a relatively new technology called wastewater-based epidemiology.
Researchers analyzed wastewater from 15 treatment plants across Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver to produce data on cannabis use.
The results suggest that between March and August, Halifax had the highest rate of consumption per capita, at 1,310 micrograms per person per week, with Montreal coming in second at 976.
Toronto came in at 451 micrograms per person per week, Edmonton at 416, and Vancouver at 288. In total, the areas surveyed represent nearly 8.4 million Canadians.
StatCan noted there were often large disparities in the amount of cannabis detected month-tomonth, and stressed that its results are considered “preliminary and experimental.
“Statistics Canada is still exploring the benefits and limits of using WBE to produce statistics on drug use,” a recent StatCan report reads.
“Subsequent tests and results will allow the agency to better assess the long-term feasibility of using wastewater as an official data source.”
The study was launched amid concerns that Canadians may be under-reporting cannabis use due to stigma and reluctance to disclose purchases from “nonregulated suppliers.”