Health Canada releases new data on cannabis use in Canada

News release

The 2018 Canadian Cannabis Survey provides a snapshot of Canadians' knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to cannabis before the law changed

November 19, 2018 Ottawa, ON Health Canada

The old approach to cannabis did not work. It let criminals and organized crime profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth. In many cases, it has been easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes.

To address these issues, on October 17, the Government of Canada legalized and strictly regulated access to cannabis. To track Canadians' knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards cannabis, the Government of Canada is examining how usage changes from year to year. Standardized and comparable data are needed to evaluate the impact of the new cannabis legislation and to develop policy and program initiatives, including public education and awareness activities.

Between May and July 2018, Health Canada asked almost 13,000 Canadians about their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to cannabis, including their cannabis use and driving behaviours after consuming cannabis. Results from the 2018 Canadian Cannabis Survey released today provide a snapshot of Canadians' views and habits related to cannabis several months before the Cannabis Act came into force:

  • how much and how often they used cannabis,
  • where they got it from,
  • what forms of cannabis they consumed,
  • the extent to which they were accepting of cannabis use,
  • what they thought about its potential to be habit forming, and
  • whether they believed cannabis could affect someone's ability to operate a motor vehicle.

The Canadian Cannabis Survey contributes to the foundation of information needed to measure and monitor the impacts of the Government's cannabis legislation. It also complements previously collected data on the prevalence of cannabis use in the general population.

These survey results reinforce the Government of Canada's continued public education efforts on the facts around cannabis, as well as on drug-impaired driving, to support Canadians in making informed decisions on cannabis use.

The Canadian Cannabis Survey was designed to seek a greater number of respondents who use cannabis in order to obtain more detailed information on cannabis use in Canada, such as frequency of use and methods of consumption. As such, it is important to note that the Canadian Cannabis Survey is not a general population survey and its results are not representative of the Canadian population.


"The Canadian Cannabis Survey provides us with valuable data to monitor the impact of legalizing, regulating and restricting access to cannabis. Information on the habits and behaviours of Canadians in relation to cannabis reinforces the importance of public education."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

"It is encouraging to see that a greater number of Canadians understand that cannabis use has significant health effects, such as impairing your ability to drive. 81% of all survey respondents believed that cannabis use affects driving, up from 75% in 2017. The Government has a zero tolerance approach to impaired driving. Public education and awareness activities will ensure that Canadians understand that driving while impaired by cannabis is a criminal offence."
The Honourable Bill Blair
Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

"Public safety has been at the forefront of our approach to cannabis from the start. Drug-impaired driving has been illegal in Canada since 1925, yet it has been on the rise for the past several years. Driving while impaired by cannabis or any other drug is dangerous and is a serious criminal offence. The Canadian Cannabis Survey is a valuable tool to understand the public's views and how we can ensure a culture of responsible use. Our message is simple: don't drive high."
The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

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Health Canada

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