Are Canadians using cannabis more or less during the pandemic?

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Published December 22, 2020 at 12:19 am

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Are Canadians using cannabis more during the pandemic, or less? The answer isn’t as clear cut as you might expect.

On Monday, December 21, Health Canada published the results of its yearly Canadian Cannabis Survey, which aims to provide a snapshot of Canadians’ thoughts and behaviours related to cannabis.

One of the 2020 survey’s key findings was that the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed had some impacts on cannabis use. People who used cannabis in the past 12 months were asked if their cannabis use had changed due to the pandemic, with 56% reporting that they were using the same amount.

22% reported using more, and another 22% reported using less.

Other key findings include:

  • More than half of those who use cannabis report using it three days a month or less (54% reported using cannabis three days per month or less, while 18% reported daily cannabis use. Responses were unchanged from 2019)
  • More than half of those who use cannabis choose to obtain it through a legal source (41% reported legal storefront as their usual source, an increase from 24% in 2019, whereas 13% reported obtaining cannabis from a legal online source)
  • Smoking remains the most common method of consuming cannabis, but it has declined while eating cannabis products has increased since 2019
  • Almost 8 in 10 Canadians feel they have access to trustworthy information to make informed decisions about their cannabis use (an increase from 71% in 2019 to 77% in 2020)
  • Driving after cannabis use has decreased among those who reported past 12-month cannabis use, as compared to 2019 results (22% of those who use cannabis drove within two hours of smoking or vapourizing cannabis in their lifetime and 13% reported driving within four hours of orally ingesting cannabis in their lifetime)

The data was collected from April 30 to June 22, 2020 based on online responses from approximately 11,000 people (aged 16 years and older) across all provinces and territories.

This is the fourth year of the Canadian Cannabis Survey after Health Canada commissioned the first one in 2017.

Health Canada says the survey results will help evaluate the impact of the federal Cannabis Act and inform cannabis-related policy and program development.

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