Researchers in Canada have determined that the city of Halifax consumes the most cannabis per capita out of five major urban areas in the country. The study by Statistics Canada, the national statistics agency, analyzed wastewater from 15 sewage treatment plants serving Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver to determine average cannabis use per person in the cities. More than 8 million Canadians live in the areas surveyed for the study.

New Research Tool

The technology used in the study, known as wastewater-based epidemiology, has been used in Europe since 2007 to track drug consumption in large cities. The current pilot study by Statistics Canada is the first use of the technology in that country.

“Statistics Canada is still exploring the benefits and limits of using WBE to produce statistics on drug use,” the agency wrote in a report about the research released last week.

Researchers analyzed wastewater samples from the five urban areas to determine the levels of a cannabis metabolite known as THC-COOH.  The results of the study suggest that between March and August of this year Halifax had the highest consumption of cannabis per person per week at 1,310 micrograms. Montreal had the second-highest level at 976 micrograms per person

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