2022 Health Canada data offers insights into cannabis use in Canada

More Canadians – 61 per cent – are choosing legal sources of cannabis, up from 52 per cent reported last year, according to the results of the 2022 Canadian Cannabis Survey, released earlier this month by Health Canada.

And while smoking remains the most common consumption method, the number of people choosing to smoke cannabis continues to decline, while use of vape pens increases.

Conducted annually since 2017, the latest Canadian Cannabis Survey collected data from April to June 2022 and offers insights into Canadians’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours on cannabis use.

The 2022 results are based on online responses from approximately 10,000 respondents aged 16 years of age and older from across Canada.

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Data reflects five themes: knowledge, attitudes and behaviours; cannabis use and products used; sources of cannabis and purchasing patterns; driving and cannabis use; and cannabis for medical purposes.

The 2022 survey also collected new data on several topics, including exposure to advertising or promotion of cannabis, and changes in cannabis use over the past 12 months in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Questions also explored the accidental consumption of cannabis products by individuals and pets in the household – while the percentage people reporting accidental consumption in their home is small at just 1 per cent, this would still result in many events throughout the population, Health Canada notes.

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Key findings from the 2022 Canadian Cannabis Survey include:

  • Over the previous 12 months, cannabis use among youth aged 16 to 19 returned to pre-legalization levels in 2021 and 2022, after increasing between 2018 and 2020.
  • Overall, proportions of those reporting daily or almost daily cannabis use (an indicator of problematic or high-risk cannabis use behaviour) have been stable since 2018, including among youth aged 16 to 19.
  • When looking at the method of consumption, the proportion of respondents smoking cannabis has continued to decline since 2018 while vapourizing cannabis using a vape pen has increased since 2021. However, smoking remains the most common method of consuming cannabis, followed by eating and vapourizing with a vape pen or e-cigarette.
  • More respondents reported a legal source as their usual source of cannabis compared to 2021, with legal storefronts being the most common source since 2019. In 2022, 61 per cent of those who used cannabis in the past 12 months indicated their usual source of cannabis was a legal storefront, up from 52 per cent in 2021. A smaller proportion reported illegal storefronts and illegal online sources in 2022 compared to 2019.
  • Among those who used cannabis, driving after recent use decreased between 2018 and 2021 and remained unchanged in 2022.
  • More than a quarter of those who used cannabis for medical purposes said they did so with a document from a healthcare professional, an increase since 2021.

Results of the Canadian Cannabis Survey will be used to inform policy and program development, and help target public education and awareness activities. The data from the survey will also help inform the legislative review of the Cannabis Act, being led by an independent expert panel.

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