Study finds three-quarters of Canadians are turning to cannabis for relaxation and well-being

Although most cannabis users don’t have a medical prescription for cannabis, their reasons for using cannabis are often related to health and well-being. The top four reasons for consuming cannabis are to relax (79% regularly/occasionally), have fun (74%), relieve stress (69%) and help sleep (60%). (CNW Group/Valens GroWorks Corp.)

A new study has found Canadian cannabis consumers may choose to partake in the drug for a wide variety of reasons, including health benefits such as reducing anxiety, helping with sleep, and relieving stress.

The study, called “The Future of Cannabis in Canada,” was conducted by Insights West for Resonance Consultancy in partnership with Valens GroWorks.

“Our study found that almost 80% of Canadians are turning to cannabis for relaxation and well-being even though the majority of users don’t have medical prescriptions. Clearly, even without clinical research, Canadians believe cannabis has a positive impact on their health and LP’s should take note,” said Everett Knight, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Investments for ValensGro.

Reasons For Cannabis Use By Canadians (CNW Group/Valens GroWorks Corp.)

Among Canadian cannabis users, the survey found the top two reasons for consuming cannabis were to relax (79% regularly/occasionally) and for fun/recreation (74%), followed by to relieve stress (69%) and to help users sleep (60%).

More than half of users who responded to the study (55%) regularly/ occasionally consume cannabis to reduce anxiety, while half (50%) use it to provide relief for a medical illness/condition, and 46% use cannabis to help them escape. 

When considering the general population, 21% of Canadians have consumed cannabis for recreational purposes, with 10% stating they do so weekly. Almost 1-in-6 Canadian residents (17%) have consumed cannabis for medicinal reasons, with 10% stating they do so weekly.

“One of the big insights from the survey was the obvious market potential for cannabis-infused wellness products, especially once ‘the second legalization’ of edible cannabis products arrives in Canada in the fall,” says Resonance Consultancy President Chris Fair, one of the report’s authors. “The market for women-focused cannabis wellness products is also poised for growth, given that current cannabis use among our respondents skewed much more male (55%) than female (44%).”

Among Canadians overall (cannabis users and non-users), nearly 8-in-10 agree that marijuana has long been used to treat illnesses – now that it’s legal, more people are able to use it to feel better (79%) and that the marijuana industry will create new jobs for Canadians (79%).

When considering the potential benefit “taxing the adult use of marijuana will generate revenues that can be used to benefit all residents,” 70% of Canadians agree. However, over 6-in-10 Canadian residents (64%) disagree with the idea that “legalizing marijuana for adults will make it harder for children to have access to the drug”, with 35% strongly disagreeing and 29% somewhat disagreeing.

Perceived Benefits (CNW Group/Valens GroWorks Corp.)

Interestingly, the study shows that cannabis has a much better reputation than alcohol among cannabis users. More than 6-in-10 cannabis users think cannabis is healthier than alcohol (63%) and has fewer side effects (63%), while 57% believe cannabis is less addictive than alcohol.

When considering which substance is superior at making them feel better, 54% of cannabis users chose cannabis. For all aspects, roughly one-third of respondents felt cannabis and alcohol were about the same. Cannabis users aged 35 to 54 are more likely to think cannabis is less addictive than alcohol (62%), while those aged 55+ are more likely to think cannabis makes you feel better than alcohol (58%).

The results are based on an online study conducted from December 13 to December 21, 2018, among 1,001 adult Canadians and 1,500 past-year Canadian cannabis users. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 2.5% 19 times out of 20 for the 1,500 past-year cannabis users, and +/- 3.1% 19 times out of 20 for the 1,001 general population Canadians.