Pot was the most used illegal drug among Canadians last year: survey

(Photo: Flickr/cagrimmett)

The Canadian, Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey released this week has revealed that cannabis was the most used illegal drug in 2017.

The survey, which focused on substance use among Canadians 15 and older, found that 4.4 million people had used cannabis in the previous year, which was an increase from 3.6 million in 2015, and 3.1 million in 2013.

“In 2017, past-year cannabis use was more prevalent among males (19% or 2.7 million) than females (11% or 1.7 million), which is consistent with previous cycles,” the survey highlights note. “The prevalence of past-year cannabis use among males increased from 2015 (15%), whereas for past-year cannabis use there was no change among females.”

Interestingly, “past-year” use of cannabis was more prevalent among youth aged 15 to 19 (19% or 390,000) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (33% or 780,000) than among adults aged 25 years and older (13% or 3.2 million).

Among people who have used cannabis in the past year, 37% (or 1.6 million) reported using it for medical purposes, an increase from 24% (831,000) in 2015.

Of the methods used to consume cannabis in the past 12 months, smoking was the most common: Ninety-one percent (91% or 4 million) of those who used cannabis in the past year smoked cannabis.

Other common methods of consumption include mixing cannabis with tobacco (22% or 942,000), chasing (smoking a tobacco product right after smoking cannabis – 34% or 1.5 million), consuming cannabis in edibles (brownies, etc. – 38% or 1.6 million), and vaporizing (29% or 1.3 million).

Those who reported using cannabis may have tried more than one method over the past 12 months.

The majority (75% or 3.3 million) of those who reported using cannabis in the past year reported using cannabis in the past 3 months, an increase from 2015 (72% or 2.6 million). Of those who had used cannabis in the past 3 months, many reported consuming cannabis on a daily or almost daily basis (32% or 1 million, unchanged from 33% or 840,000 in 2015).

And, it seems cannabis is the most popular in B.C.

Provincial prevalence of past-year cannabis use ranged from 11% (750,000) in Quebec to 23% (940,000) in British Columbia.

Released by Health Canada on Oct. 30, the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey is a general population survey of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians aged 15 and older. Statistics Canada conducted the survey on behalf of Health Canada by interviewing more than 16,000 Canadians between February and December 2017.

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