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What does the most recent wastewater data tell us about cannabis?

Updated: May 1, 2023

DASA Medical Cannabis drug and alcohol testing services throughout Australia

The most recent report from the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring program was released mid-March and it has some interesting insights into cannabis consumption across Australia. (a)

Based on data collected in August 2022, the average consumption of cannabis in regional areas was much higher than in the capital cities. In fact, most regional sites across Australia recorded above-average consumption, particularly in Queensland and South Australia.

In contrast, cannabis consumption in our bigger capital cities (in NSW and Victoria) is consistently lower than in smaller capital cities.

The highest consumption of cannabis in this period was recorded in the Northern Territory (regional) and Tasmania (smaller capital city).

Cannabis consumption was higher in mid-2022 than it was at the commencement of monitoring in August 2018. Moreover, for 3 of the past 4 years, cannabis consumption peaked in August in regional areas before decreasing. This report similarly shows a peak in August. Whether or not cannabis usage is cyclical (as the data might suggest) remains to be seen. Moreover, what factors might be driving this pattern of usage are not yet known.

What we do know is that workers affected by cannabis (marijuana) may be unsafe due to an altered state of consciousness. Impaired concentration, balance, co-ordination, sleepiness or distortions of space and time, increase the risk of an accident, error, or inappropriate action.

Hallucinations, anxiety, and paranoia may also occur at higher doses or in long-term use.

If you think cannabis might be compromising safety at your workplace, we can help. Our engaging education material was developed with both workers and managers in mind. It is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the health and safety implications of cannabis use for the individual and for the team as a whole.

Get in touch with DASA today on 1300 230 231 or visit our website to find out more.

(a) THC cannot be accurately measured in wastewater against the other drugs but can be compared to itself on a year-by-year basis.


DASA (Drug and Alcohol Solutions Australia) is proud to be leading the way in workplace drug and alcohol testing services throughout Australia. Whether your need is for workplace drug and workplace alcohol testing, advice on drug and alcohol policy or ideas on how to communicate your workplace expectations, policies and procedures to your staff, DASA can help. We have the experience, technical expertise and people to lead you to the right solution.



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