Understanding the motivations for recreational marijuana use among adult Canadians

Subst Use Misuse. 2008;43(3-4):539-72; discussion 573-9, 585-7. doi: 10.1080/10826080701884911.


The Canadian Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs (2003) noted that little ethnographic research had been devoted to exploring why people use marijuana recreationally or the social contexts in which it is used. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative research is to better understand both of these neglected topics through interviews conducted with 41 adult Canadian users between 2005 and 2006. The participants' ages ranged from 21 to 61 and included 25 males and 16 females whose consumption patterns ranged from sporadic use to regular daily use. They were predominantly middle class, employed in a wide range of occupations, and used marijuana recreationally to enhance relaxation and concentration while engaged in leisure activities. Implications for drug laws and policies are discussed. The study's limitations are noted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Escape Reaction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Music
  • Sexual Behavior


  • Illicit Drugs