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Societal images of Cannabis use: comparing three countries

John A Cunningham1*, Jan Blomqvist2, Anja Koski-Jännes3 and Kirsimarja Raitasalo4

Author Affiliations

1 The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health & University of Toronto, 33 Russell Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 2S1, Canada

2 The Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

3 School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

4 National Institute of Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland

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Harm Reduction Journal 2012, 9:21  doi:10.1186/1477-7517-9-21

Published: 18 June 2012



Differences in beliefs about Cannabis were compared between Canada, Sweden and Finland using nationally representative population surveys containing similar items.


Compared to Finnish and Swedish respondents, Canadians were both more likely to have tried Cannabis and to view Cannabis as a less serious problem for society.


These findings emphasize the extent to which views about Cannabis can vary. It is possible that views about Cannabis are, at least in part, a social construction influenced by media, social policy and exposure to the drug that varies from country to country.

Cannabis; Societal beliefs; Epidemiology