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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
Volume I - General Orientation

Chapter 5 - Cannabis: From Plant to Joint



In conclusion, the Committee makes the following findings:


Conclusions of Chapter 5

On production

















      The size of the cannabis market is estimated at 800 tonnes a year.

      The size of the national production has significantly increased, and it is estimated that 50% of cannabis available is now produced in the country.

      The main producer provinces are British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

      Estimates of the monetary value of the cannabis market are unreliable. For example, if 400 tons are grown yearly in Canada, at a street value of $225 per ounce, the total value of the Canadian production would be less than $6 billion per year, less than the often quoted value of the BC market alone.

      An unknown proportion of national production is exported to the United States.

      A portion of production is controlled by organized crime elements.


      THC is the main active ingredient of cannabis; in its natural state, cannabis contains between 0.5% and 3% THC.

      Sophisticated growing methods and genetic progress have made it possible to increase THC content in recent years, but it is impossible to estimate the average content of cannabis available in the market; it is reasonable to consider that content varies between 6% and 31%.

      THC is fat soluble and readily spreads in the innervated tissues of the brain; it reaches a peak in the blood plasma in less than nine minutes and falls to approximately 5% after one hour.

      The body is slow to eliminate THC and inactive THC metabolites can be detected in urine up to 27 days after use in the case of regular users.

      Psychoactive effects generally last two to three hours and as many as five to seven hours after use.



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