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by Michael Duncan

Alex Smith* gets high every day.

The fourth-year film student has been smoking marijuana regularly since he was 13.

A 2008 Health Canada study found 36.5 per cent of adults aged 20 to 24 smoke pot regularly.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) took note of the stats and is targeting Ryerson students who are regular smokers. They are doing a study that aims to develop prevention measures for “high risk cannabis users and their related health risks.”

Smith is taking part in the study.

“I went there last week … they want to talk to me in about three months to see if my behaviours have changed,” Smith said.

He decided to participate in the study to help curb his herb habit.

“There is something intoxicating about smoking and while I do enjoy it, it’s not a sustainable thing.”

CAMH is focusing on heavy smokers because of the immediate and long-term health risks associated with pot, such as potential respiratory and mental health problems.

The CAMH study has been running for a year and the results are expected to be published in medical journals. “Our main goal overall is to change laws and regulations in order to minimize the harm,” said Jergen Rehm, head of the Department for Public Health and Regulatory Policies for CAMH.

Justin Rathwell, a second-year engineering student and avid smoker, isn’t too concerned. “I’m worried mostly about school.”

*False name used to protect student’s privacy

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