Pubdate: Wed, 10 May 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Johanna Weidner
Page: B4


About 43,000 Canadian students use pot every day: report

WATERLOO - Just as many teenagers use marijuana every day as smoke
cigarettes, according to a new University of Waterloo report.

Two per cent of Canadian students in grades 7 to 12 - equivalent to
more than 43,000 students - use marijuana every day. That's compared
to daily smoking at 1.8 per cent.

Among Grade 12 students, daily marijuana use jumps to five per

"The myth is marijuana smoke is not as bad for you," said David Hammond, 
a professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at 
Waterloo and co-author of the supplement to Tobacco Use in Canada: 
Patterns and Trends. "It's just as harmful." Occasional cannabis use 
remains high among youth with one in five students reporting trying it, 
and one in 10 reporting use in the last 30 days.

The report also found a strong link between tobacco and marijuana use.
More than 90 per cent of students in grades 7 to 12 who were current
smokers also reported trying cannabis.

Hammond said that although youth are less likely to try marijuana than
they were a decade ago, the number using daily is surprisingly high,
and worrisome.

"Most of the serious health effects are associated with early and
chronic use," he said.

Reaching youth needs to be a priority for the federal government as it
prepares to legalize marijuana next year, he said. They need to be
made aware of the serious dangers to their health, which can be
reduced by taking marijuana in a way other than smoking, and also of
driving while high.

"Most of the risks will be associated with that small group of regular
users who started early," Hammond said.

When it comes to the five per cent of Grade 12 students using
marijuana daily, "these kids are old enough to have a licence and
probably a lot of them are driving."

The incidence of driving while high is on the rise, Hammond said, and
that poses a serious danger on the roads even if the signs of
impairment aren't as obvious as when people are drunk.

"The trends in driving high, that's happening regardless of whether
it's legalized or not," he said. "That needs to be addressed
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