People in Halifax consume the most cannabis, wastewater testing suggests

Black Press file photo

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 across the country.

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 statistics 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-to-month, 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 report posted on StatCan’s website 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 their cannabis use due to stigma around the drug a reluctance to disclose purchases from “non-regulated suppliers.”

“One consequence of under-reporting is that the size of the black market for cannabis will be similarly underestimated,” the report, published last Thursday, states.

“As a result, without a direct measurement of cannabis consumption, the reduction of the black market for cannabis, one of the objectives of the legalization of non-medical cannabis, will be hard to track.”

The report said that when people consume cannabis, their bodies process it into metabolites that are later eliminated from the body and can show up in wastewater.

It said this method of testing has been used in Europe since 2007 to report on people’s drug consumption in large cities.

StatCan said sampling will continue through the spring of 2019.

Just Posted

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001 HALIFAX —… Continue reading

Rural communities could face policing bills

Province considering getting smaller and rural communities to pick up a portion of policing costs

Random Acts of Green Canadian tour comes to Red Deer

Red Deerians are being encouraged to lessen their impact on the environment.… Continue reading

Free blood testing for HIV, Hep C, syphilis offered Thursday in Red Deer

Anyone can drop by from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bower Ponds pavilion

Red Deer economy bouncing back but slowly: report

While Red Deer’s economy has been in recovery mode for the past… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001 HALIFAX —… Continue reading

CFL rushing leader Andrew Harris returns to Winnipeg offence versus Alouettes

Andrew Harris returns to anchor the CFL’s top-ranked ground attack this weekend.… Continue reading

Humphries declines Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s invitation to return to bob team

CALGARY — Olympic bobsled champion Kaillie Humphries says she won’t race for… Continue reading

Retired Canadians Virtue and Moir leave ice dancing in a better place

TORONTO — Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir knew they were taking a… Continue reading

Cheryl Bernard to play as a substitute on Team Scheidegger at three events

Sometimes when curling analyst Cheryl Bernard makes the walk from the broadcast… Continue reading

Couche-Tard wants to be a player in the sale of cannabis

LAVAL, Que. — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. wants to be one of the… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: A safe supply of water has long been a priority for Red Deer

The oldest part of the Red Deer water treatment plant on 54th… Continue reading

Most Read