Cannabis is one of the most commonly used drugs in Canada, with 15.6% of Canadians reporting use in the past three months in 2018 according to
National Cannabis Survey. While the non-medical use of cannabis can result in numerous
health impacts, it also contributes to the overall cost of substance use. Some of the sectors impacted include healthcare, business and industry, and criminal justice, as well as other areas such as research and prevention, damage to property and motor vehicles, and workplace costs not covered in lost productivity.
Costs of cannabis use
In 2014, cannabis use contributed $2.8 billion dollars (7.3%) to the overall cost of substance use.
Between 2007 and 2014, per-person costs increased by 19.1% for cannabis.
Between 2007 and 2014, cannabis-related healthcare costs increased by 27.9%.
In 2014, cannabis was responsible for the third highest substance use-related crime costs ($1.8 billion or 19.7%), of which 60% of costs were associated with violations of the
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
In 2014, cannabis accounted for 18% of other direct costs.
For more information on the cost of substance use, see
Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms (report in short) or the
Demographic trends for cannabis use
Cannabis use in Canada is slowly on the rise: the past-year use among the general population (aged 15 years and over) increased from 10.6% in 2012 to 12.3% in 2014. Canadian youth were more than twice as likely to report past-year cannabis use compared to adults: the use rates among individuals aged 15–24 years and individuals aged 25 years and older were 25.5% and 9.9% respectively. The average age of initiation among youth (15–19 years) was 15.4 years, young adults (20–24 years) 16.5 years and adults (over 25 years) 18.8 years.
Figure 1 shows the percentages of past-year cannabis use based on age group.
To view the chart, click on the thumbnail above.
For more information about cannabis use in Canada, see the
Cannabis (Canadian Drug Summary), the
National Cannabis Survey (second quarter 2018) and the
Canadian Cannabis Survey (2017).
Driving under the influence of cannabis
Cannabinoids are among the most common psychoactive substances found in dead and injured drivers in Canada. In 2012, approximately 10% of Canadians aged 15 years and older used cannabis and just under half of them reported driving within two hours of use. Collisions resulting in fatalities, injuries and property damage were especially high among those aged 16–34 years. Upon further study, it was found that this age group:
Represented only 32% of the Canadian population, but 61% of the cannabis-attributable fatalities;
Represented 59% of the cannabis-attributable injuries and 68% of the people involved in cannabis-attributable property damage only collisions; and
Accounted for $658 million (60%) of the total costs attributable to motor vehicle collisions related to driving under the influence of cannabis.
Cost of Cannabis Collisions in Canadian Provinces in 2012
The highest costs were associated with fatalities, representing over 58% of the total. While they represented less than half the total cost, injuries and property damage were quite significant.
For more information, see
Collisions Attributable to Cannabis: Estimating the Harms and Costs in the Canadian Provinces (report at a glance) and
Cost of Cannabis Collisions in Canadian Provinces in 2012 (infographic).