Just over a third of Canadians who use cannabis increased their use during the COVID-19 crisis. This emerges from a new Statistics Canada report on alcohol and marijuana use in the pandemic.
The report offers new insights into why Canadian cannabis users may have increased their marijuana use during the public health crisis.
According to the study, which is based on a web panel from January 2021 that is supposed to be statistically representative of the Canadian population, 16 percent of Canadians said they had used cannabis at least once in the previous month.
34 percent of those who had previously used cannabis said they had increased their use during the pandemic, compared with 12 percent who said they used less cannabis.
More than half of cannabis users (54%) said they had not increased their use during the pandemic.
Stress, boredom, and loneliness were the top three reasons for increased cannabis use, followed by “convenience like lack of schedule, more often at home”, easy access to cannabis, deteriorating health or pain, and new products like foods, concentrates, and vapes.
“Increased social acceptance of cannabis and the increasing number of outlets and products available were among the factors believed to have resulted in increased use over the past year,” according to Statistics Canada.
Canadian sales of regulated cannabis rose 120% in 2020 from 2019 as more licensed marijuana stores opened in most provinces.
Statistics Canada previously estimated that sales of regulated adult cannabis exceeded sales of illegal recreational marijuana for the first time in the third quarter of 2020.
A previous Statistics Canada report released in February 2020 found an increase in total cannabis use between 2018 and 2019, particularly among people aged 25 and over and among men.
Canada legalized recreational marijuana on October 17, 2018.