Highlights from the 2020 Canadian Cannabis Survey

Published Jan 11, 2021 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Jae Young Ju

The government of Canada has taken a unique approach to legalization by maintaining legislation that focuses on public health, and in order to ensure that our rules, restrictions, and programs are based on the latest information, regular monitoring of consumer behavior is required. The Canadian Cannabis Survey is designed to help with that, and after such a strange year due to COVID-19, something that significantly changed consumer habits, many were excited to see the results that were gathered by the experts over the course of 2020.

The purpose of the survey

The Canadian Cannabis Survey is meant to assist lawmakers, officials and experts in figuring out the effectiveness of the Cannabis Act, but that’s not all. It’s also focused on specific cannabis consumer behaviours that might be either troubling or enlightening. This is a yearly survey that is expected to continue into the foreseeable future, to monitor the progress that society and the market make together.

Surprising results

Most had no idea how this year would turn out, especially after the arrival of a pandemic and systematic shutdowns, but cannabis users are diligent people who have thrived during this time by buying and smoking more weed than ever before. It likely helped them to deal with the stress and anxiety that followed us everywhere we went throughout the year, and as a result, the interest in cannabis in its various forms is only rising, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that each person is using more.

Key findings

The results from Health Canada’s cannabis survey were released on December 21st, and all of the data researchers gathered over this past year was simplified and reduced down to specific key findings for easier reading.

  1. More than half of all cannabis consumers use it less than 3 days per month: 56% reported less than 3 times each month and only 18% claimed to use cannabis products daily.

  2. More than half of all cannabis users who buy it do so through legal sources: 41% said they made pot purchases through a legal storefront, and 13% got it through a legal online vendor.

  3. Smoking is still the most popular method of consuming cannabis, but the popularity of edibles has risen slightly over this past year.

  4. Nearly 8 in 10 Canadians feel that their source for cannabis information is reliable and trustworthy.

  5. The number of cannabis consumers who are getting behind the wheel while impaired had declined: This year only 13% of users admitted to driving while under the influence of cannabis, down from 22% in 2019.

The facts

  • This is the 4thannual release of the Canadian Cannabis Survey results.

  • The Canadian Cannabis Survey included responses from over 11 000 participants.

  • Data was designed to cover 5 specific areas, including knowledge, cannabis use and products used, attitudes and behaviours, sources and purchasing, cannabis for medical purposes, and driving and cannabis.

  • Each year the survey changes slightly to include missed areas and topics of interest, so the 2020 survey collected brand new information on things like frequency of obtaining cannabis from legal and illegal sources and amount of money spent, types of cannabis products and portable devices used for vaping, home growing or preparation of edibles in or around the home, exposure to second-hand cannabis smoke or vapour, changes in consumption of other substances since cannabis for non-medical use became legal, and cannabis use in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Cannabis Survey isn’t a foolproof solution, but it does provide those who need it with valuable insight into consumer and market trends, and all of that information will help to shape the future of the cannabis industry, which can only mean great things for both consumers and big players.

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