PEI

More people using marijuana on P.E.I. following legalization, survey shows

Early results from a survey by P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office suggest that more Islanders are using cannabis than they were a year ago.

Hoping to see positive results of education campaign in survey

Islanders have not demonstrated a good knowledge of the relative risks of different cannabis products. (Joe Mahoney/The Canadian Press)

Early results from a survey by P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office suggest that more Islanders are using cannabis than they were a year ago.

Just before legalization last October, the office administered an online survey on cannabis that was completed by 4,300 people, and it repeated the survey this year, with about 1,800 surveys returned. 

The survey was available for Islanders to complete from Aug. 1 to Sept. 16.

Dr. Shamara Baidoobonso, an epidemiologist with the Chief Public Health Office, said a full analysis of the results will take until January, but she has had a quick look at some of the results.

Products that have higher, more CBD than THC are safer.— Dr. Shamara Baidoobonso

"We definitely have more people who have used cannabis compared to last year's survey," Baidoobonso said.

"About six per cent of people said that they used cannabis because it was legal."

The survey included a wide range of questions, about both people's use of cannabis and their knowledge of its health impacts.

Trying to educate Islanders

Baidoobonso said the Chief Public Health Office has been involved in education campaigns, and hopes this latest survey will show knowledge about cannabis is improving.

"We've provided messages around safer cannabis products advising people not to use synthetic cannabinoids, for example. Those are unsafe," she said.

"Products that have higher, more CBD than THC are safer. And so we have been putting those messages out and we'll be able to look to see where we end up when we're finished analyzing this year's survey results."

She said in last year's survey fewer than half of respondents were able to correctly answer questions about the relative safety of different cannabis products.

The full results of the latest survey will be available in January.

The Chief Public Health Office intends to continue with an annual survey in the coming years, said Baidoobonso, and expand its scope to include tobacco, alcohol, and opioids.

Alcohol is the most commonly used problematic substance on the Island, she said, and the substance that costs the health-care system the most.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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