Most buy legal cannabis as use holds steady: Survey

Published on January 19, 2024 by David Wylie

Canadians are mainly smoking legal cannabis. Photo: Adobe stock/the oz.
Canadians are mainly smoking legal cannabis.

A large majority of Canadians are now buying legal cannabis, finds Health Canada’s 2023 Canadian Cannabis Survey.

“The number of respondents reporting a legal source as their usual source of cannabis has increased to 73% in 2023 from 37% in 2019 with legal storefronts being the most common source since 2019,” says Health Canada.

The number of adults using cannabis almost daily has held steady since around legalization. According to the survey, about 25% of adults and 20% of youth use cannabis almost every day.

The 2023 survey provides insights into Canadians’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours on cannabis use. The data was collected from May 2 to July 20, 2023.

It’s the seventh cycle of the Canadian Cannabis Survey, which Health Canada has conducted every year since 2017.

Here are some of the other key findings from the survey:

  • The proportion of Canadians smoking cannabis continued to decline. However, in 2023, smoking remains the most common method of consuming cannabis (63%), followed by eating (52%) and vapourizing with a vape pen or e-cigarette (33%).
  • There was no clear trend for past 12-month cannabis use among youth age 16-19. In 2023, 43% of youth reported using cannabis at least once in the past 12 months, an increase compared to 2022 and 2018 (which had rates of 37% and 36% respectively). However, this rate was similar to that in 2019 and 2020 (44% each year).
  • The percentage of Canadians who use cannabis classified as ‘at high risk’ of developing problems from cannabis use has remained stable since 2018 (approximately 3%).
  • Among those who used cannabis, driving after recent use decreased between 2018 (27%) and 2021 (16%), and has remained unchanged since then.

Survey results are based on online responses from about 11,700 people who are 16 years of age and older across all provinces and territories.