While Canadians’ attitudes toward weed didn’t change much this year, patterns of use have continued to shift alongside the pandemic and more are choosing to access legal sellers.
In the Canadian Cannabis Survey 2021 — an annual questionnaire conducted by Health Canada that began in 2017 — 53 per cent of respondents say a licensed storefront was their usual source, up from 41 per cent in 2020.
According to the agency, Covid-19 continues to impact consumption. Less people who use cannabis (49 per cent) say their use habits didn’t change than last year (56 per cent). But 29 per cent say they consumed more, up from 22 per cent, while the same number of people say they used less (22 per cent).
The changes in consumption over the pandemic mostly affected younger age groups, with 25 per cent of people 25 and older increasing use, compared to 40 per cent of respondents aged 20–24 and 46 per cent of aged 16–19.
Driving after cannabis use has fallen over the past year to among 16 per cent of consumers from 19 per cent last year.
Reports of daily or almost daily consumption has remained almost unchanged at 25 per cent, but overall consumption shrunk slightly to 25 per cent from 27 per cent of respondents.
Smoking (down to 74 per cent from 75 per cent) is still the most common way to consume pot, but vaporizing (up to 28 per cent from 24 per cent), drinking (up to 15 per cent from 7 per cent) and topicals have all grown in popularity. Eating food containing cannabis remained the second-most popular option at 54 per cent (unchanged).
At very similar rates to a year ago, a majority of users and non-users say cannabis smoke can be harmful (74 and 77 per cent), daily or almost daily use raises risk of mental health problems (56 and 68 per cent) and teenagers are at greater risk of harm than adults (84 and 82 per cent).
In terms of social acceptance, a majority of Canadians still believe any form of occasional cannabis consumption is okay (62–68 per cent), while alcohol is still rated more acceptable (89 per cent) and e-cigarette or tobacco use less acceptable (49–50 per cent). A slight majority (51–55 per cent) say regular pot use is socially unacceptable.