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Studies and surveys are constantly being done on drug and alcohol use. The third quarter national cannabis survey was just released, so let’s take a look at the results.

What is this survey?

The National Cannabis Survey mainly seeks to better understand the frequency of cannabis use in Canada. It also serves to monitor the changes in behaviour as Canada plans to legalize cannabis usage for non-medical use.

Overall Statistics

In Canada, about 4.6 million people ages 15 and older (or 15% of Canadians) reported having used cannabis in the past three months. This percentage closely aligns with what has been reported throughout 2018. Cannabis use in Canada remains more popular among males ages 15-24 in the time period immediately following the legalization of cannabis.

The Cannabis Act (C-45) is set to become law on October 17, 2018, according to Statistics Canada.

Nova Scotia and British Columbia

These two provinces of Canada displayed higher rates of cannabis consumption. In Nova Scotia, 23% of residents reported using cannabis in the past three months, and in British Columbia 20% of residents reported this same usage. This puts both Nova Scotia and British Columbia above the estimates for the rest of Canada. In comparison, Quebec, with only 10% of residents reported usage within the past three months, was the only province lower than the rest of Canada.

In this quarter, it was noted that cannabis use continued to be higher among males than females – with 18% of males reporting usage and only 12% of females reporting usage. Cannabis use also decreased with age, of ages 15-24, 27% reported consumption, more than double the rate of those 25 and older – which was a mere 13%.

Vehicles and Cannabis

This survey also analyses how many people report riding in a vehicle operated by someone who had consumed cannabis within the past two hours. Of those surveyed, 5% of Canadians ages 15 and older reported doing so. These statistics did not differ by gender, however, they did differ by age. The survey determined that 16% of youth and young adults, ages 15-24 reported being passengers with someone who had been consuming marijuana. Comparatively, this means they did so more than four times as often as people ages 25 or older.

Additionally, the act of getting into a vehicle with a driver who had consumed cannabis was more common among passengers who were also current users of cannabis.

As many parts of the world push to legalize marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes, it is important to understand how this affects the usage numbers of our youth, young adults, and peers.