The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) is conducting a focus group study with teens to find out their feelings on cannabis.
The group, which describes itself as reducing “the harm of alcohol and other drugs on society,” met with youth aged 14 – 19 at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.
Participants offered their opinions on cannabis use among youth.
“Most guys I know, they think its fine,” said one 16-year-old. “I think it’s fine, I think it’s better to smoke up than get drunk or [use] smokes.”
The CCSA believe cannabis harms the development of adolescents and that chronic use is associated with mental health issues.
A 2014 study by researchers at Northwestern University and Harvard Medical School used MRI scanning on the brains of young people and, while they found physical differences, found no links between cannabis use and mental health problems.
The group is conducting the cross-Canada study as part of an initiative to stop young people from using cannabis, with the results published in the coming months in a report titled “What Canadian Youth Think about Cannabis.”
A UNICEF report from 2013 named Canada as the country with the highest level of cannabis use among youth in the developed world.