Since the 2018 Cannabis Act was legislated, policymakers have been keen to know how Canadian society is evolving after its legalization. For years, Health Canada conducts the Canadian Cannabis Survey to get first-hand behavioural data and public sentiments to help the Government build better programs.
Needless to say, the recently concluded 2021 Survey included additional exciting sections. This includes home-growing of cannabis, behavioural effects of using cannabis, and changes in cannabis use due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s now unravel the highlights of the survey results!
1. Cannabis Use in Canada
According to the Canadian cannabis survey, in terms of consumption method, 74 percent use cannabis through smoking, followed by edibles, vapes, drinking, and dabbing. Meanwhile, 14 percent used cannabis for medical reasons and have significantly reduced their intake of other medications due to this.
Interestingly, 6 percent of the surveyed population planted and grown cannabis in their own homes, while 7 percent reported having prepared cannabis edibles or beverages over the past year for personal consumption.
The most socially acceptable product to use was alcohol, followed by cannabis and tobacco. Surprisingly, alcohol was commonly used with cannabis rather than tobacco. The vast majority do not combine cannabis with opioids, stimulants, or sedatives.
2. Current Demographics of Cannabis Users
The use of cannabis in Canada cuts across all legal age groups and gender identities. In the past 12 months, and people between 20-24 years old are the heaviest cannabis users. Males have a higher percentage of use than females. However, those identified as bisexual are heavier cannabis users than homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Worth noting is that people born in Canada were heavier users compared to people who were not born in Canada, and the average “initiating age” in using cannabis in Canada was 20.4 years. Intuitively, females start a little later than their male counterparts.
3. Cannabis’ Behavioral Effects
The use of cannabis affects each user differently. Some users may be “stoned” or “high” for more extended periods than their peers. In terms of frequency of use, 53 percent of cannabis users reported that they used cannabis for three days per month or less, while 19 percent used cannabis daily.
In terms of the number of hours “stoned,” 38 percent reported that they would be high for 1-2 hours, while 33 percent reported being high for 3-4 hours. A whopping 95 percent of student cannabis users said they were “never absent from school because of cannabis use.”
4. Purchasing and Pricing of Cannabis Products
From the business and economics perspective, the survey results help to identify the significant suppliers of cannabis in Canada. Being knowledgeable about the average market price of cannabis is also a good way to budget your expenses and protect yourself from purchasing overpriced goods.
Out of the surveyed population, 53 percent shared that they purchased cannabis from legal stores, followed by sourcing from friends and online legal sources, while others sourced cannabis through home-growing, and the majority of cannabis users spend an average of $69.00 per month.
Around 68 percent used cannabis in the form of dried flowers or leaves, followed by cannabis edible products, vape pens, oil, hashish, then lastly, beverages. Most cannabis users reported positive effects on their quality of life and mental health.
5. Public Information on Cannabis and Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic
From the policy maker’s perspective, being regularly informed on the impact of the public information campaigns on the responsible use of cannabis in Canada is non-negotiable. To further refine cannabis-related policies and be attuned to social changes, data on the effectiveness of the Government’s communication tools and messaging is highly beneficial.
39 percent of the surveyed population was exposed to education campaigns on cannabis through the Government’s information campaigns, followed by 38 percent from television & radio and 22 percent from social media. Those who consumed the information believed that it was credible.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted cannabis use, with increased use associated with boredom, stress, and lack of a regular schedule. At the same time, decreased use was due to a lack of social gatherings and being too busy during the pandemic.
Being in the loop regarding the goings-on in the cannabis sphere through the results of this annual survey adds value whether you are a cannabis user, a policymaker, a business owner, an educator & advocate, a researcher, or just a curious mind. Survey results help maneuver policies that regulate us, thus giving us ample space to responsibly experience the pleasures of life!
What did you find most intriguing in the 2021 Canadian Cannabis Survey? Let us know how it goes in the comments, and follow us @cannalifenet for more survey-related cannabis info!