By / January 22, 2024

In Canada, 73% of Cannabis Now Comes from Legal Sources

Last week, Health Canada unveiled the results of the 2023 Canadian Cannabis Survey, providing valuable insights into the evolving landscape of cannabis consumption in the country. Conducted annually since 2017, the survey aims to shed light on how Canadians perceive and engage with cannabis, offering crucial data to monitor and shape national regulation under the Cannabis Act.

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Cannabis Consumption Among Youth

The survey revealed a stable picture of cannabis consumption among young Canadians aged 16 to 19 years. In 2023, 43% of them reported consuming cannabis in the past 12 months, an increase from 2022 and 2018. However, this rate has remained comparable to those of 2019 and 2020.

The overall stability in cannabis consumption across all age groups in Canada, particularly daily or near-daily consumption, has persisted since 2018, maintaining around 25%. The percentage of young Canadians regularly consuming cannabis has remained stable, at about 20%.

The percentage of Canadians considered “at high risk” due to their cannabis consumption has also remained stable, at around 3% since 2018.

A notable decline in combusted cannabis consumption is observed. In 2023, smoking remains predominant (63%), but alternative methods are gaining popularity, notably edibles (52%) and vaping (33%). This shift highlights a diversification in consumption habits, possibly influenced by the evolution of product availability and consumer preferences.

Impacts of Legalization in Canada

The number of people accessing cannabis from legal sources in Canada has risen from 37% in 2019 to 73% in 2023, an increase from 2021. Legal stores have emerged as the main source of supply since 2019. The study estimates that the increasing accessibility of legal options and the normalization of regulated cannabis retail outlets are the main factors.

The percentage of Canadians driving after recent cannabis use dropped from 27% in 2018 to 16% in 2021 and has not changed since, suggesting increased awareness of the potential risks associated with driving under the influence of cannabis and adherence to responsible consumption practices.

Approximately 11,690 respondents aged 16 and over participated in the survey across all provinces and territories. Data collection covered various themes, including knowledge, attitudes, and opinions; cannabis consumption and products; sources and purchasing; assessment of high-risk cannabis use; accidental consumption and adverse effects; driving and cannabis; and cannabis for medical purposes.

In 2023, the Health Canada cannabis survey expanded its scope to include new topics, such as reporting and occurrence of adverse effects, identification of legal sources, awareness of cannabis packaging requirements, and an alternative assessment tool for measuring harmful cannabis consumption.

(Featured image by GRAS GRÜN via Unsplash)

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