Cannabis legislation in Canada
- In 2018, Canada federally legalized the recreational use of cannabis among adults, with minimum age requirements varying by province.
- "After a steady decrease in patterns of cannabis use among youth over several years, it appears that there has been a gradual increase in cannabis use among youth following the start of discourse around cannabis legalization, with some populations of youth being at greater risk. " (Zuckermann et al, 2019)
Trends in cannabis use
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- Among students participating in COMPASS in 2018/19, 26% have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime, and 13% report using at least monthly.
- Cannabis use increases with grade and spending money, and use is more common among males and indigenous students.
- Students who use cannabis more commonly report symptoms of depression and anxiety and these symptoms increase as cannabis is used more frequently. (Butler et al, 2019)
- The presence of depressive symptoms, and poorer emotional regulation skills were associated with higher rates of cannabis use.(Romano et al, 2019)
- Students who report greater psychosocial wellbeing (e.g. flourishing) are less likely to use cannabis or use at higher frequencies. (Romano et al, 2019; Butler er al., 2019)
Other health behaviours associated with cannabis use
- Polysubstance use, inclusive of cannabis, vaping and alcohol, was reported by 13.5% of Ontario and Alberta students. (Zuckermann et al, 2019)
- Escalation of cannabis use throughout high school was associated with being male, vaping, and low math marks. (Zuckermann et al, 2018)
- Students that engage in healthier behaviours (e.g., meeting screen time and sleep guidelines) are less likely to use cannabis. (Romano et al, 2019)
- Binge drinking, cigarette use, vaping, and opioid use were all associated with higher rates of cannabis use. (Romano et al, 2019)
Modes of use among students who use cannabis in 2018/19
Cannabis and school outcomes
- Improving school connectedness is protective against the frequency of cannabis use among students. (Weatherson et al, 2018)
- Students who used cannabis were less likely to attend class regularly, complete their homework, and achieve and value high marks, relative to their peers who abstained from using cannabis. (Patte et al, 2017; Williams et al, 2019)