Yearly cannabis survey shows slight declines in pot use

Cannabis plant. (Photo courtesy of Statistics Canada)

Recreational cannabis may be legal in Canada, but a new survey shows its use may be going down.

Health Canada published the results of its 2021 Canadian Cannabis Survey last week. The survey was conducted between April and June of this year with over 10,000 respondents aged 16 and older, from all of the country’s provinces and territories.

Despite many more options for Canadians to purchase pot legally, the survey showed a slight decline in its use year-to-year, at 25 per cent of respondents this year, compared to 27 per cent in 2021.

The frequency of daily or almost-daily use of cannabis among those 16 and older was virtually stable, up a full percentage point to 26 per cent in 2021. However, there was a jump in use reported by those aged 20 to 24, from 23 per cent in 2020 to 29 per cent this year.

The most common method of consumption remains to smoke, but even that declined in 2021, according to the survey. However, drinking it, using a vape pen, and applying it to the skin have increased.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way Canadians use pot. Forty-nine per cent of respondents reported they used the same amount in the last twelve months, while 29 per cent of people, up from 22 per cent in 2020, used more.

Even with more legal methods of obtaining cannabis, the survey reported only less than two-thirds of interviewees buying it through legal channels, 53 per cent via a legal storefront, and another 11 per cent buying it legally online.

The complete survey can be found on the official Government of Canada website.