Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp e282–e287 | Cite as

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

  • Hayley A. Hamilton
  • Bruna Brands
  • Anca R. Ialomiteanu
  • Robert E. Mann
Quantitative Research


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.

Key Words

Medical cannabis use medical marijuana use prescription opioids problematic cannabis use 


OBJECTIF: Examiner la prévalence de la consommation de cannabis thérapeutique au sein d’un échantillon d’adultes de la population générale et décrire les caractéristiques associées à cette consommation.

MÉTHODE: Nos données provenaient des éditions 201 3 et 2014 du CAMH Monitor Survey. Cette enquête transversale répétée, menée auprès des adultes en Ontario, au Canada, est stratifiée par région et utilise des entretiens téléphoniques assistés par ordinateur. Nos analyses ont été fondées sur les 401 répondants qui ont déclaré consommer du cannabis.

RÉSULTATS: Selon les données obtenues, 28,8 % des personnes ayant consommé du cannabis au cours de l’année écoulée ont dit l’avoir fait à des fins thérapeutiques. De ces consommateurs de cannabis thérapeutique, 15,2 % ont dit détenir une autorisation médicale. La consommation de cannabis à des fins thérapeutiques était associée à une consommation plus fréquente de cannabis, à une probabilité accrue d’appartenir à une catégorie de risque moyen à élevé de consommation abusive de cannabis, et à une probabilité accrue de consommer des opioïdes d’ordonnance à des fins médicales. Après élimination des effets de la consommation d’opioïdes et de la consommation abusive de cannabis, la consommation de cannabis à des fins thérapeutiques différait peu selon le sexe, l’âge et l’état matrimonial.

CONCLUSION: Ces constatations indiquent qu’il pourrait y avoir des conséquences négatives à la consommation de cannabis à des fins thérapeutiques; il faudrait cependant pousser la recherche pour mieux comprendre l’étendue et les habitudes de cette consommation et les vulnérabilités correspondantes.

Mots Clés

Consommation de cannabis médical consommation de marijuana médicale opioïdes d’ordonnance consommation abusive de cannabis 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayley A. Hamilton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bruna Brands
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Anca R. Ialomiteanu
    • 1
  • Robert E. Mann
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Mental Health Policy ResearchCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Health CanadaOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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