How many students are using cannabis?

Prior to the legalization of cannabis, the bi-annual Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey reported that 19% of students in grades 7 to 12 had used cannabis in the past year (2018). The rates between males and females is similar (19.6% and 18.3%, respectively).

There is a large increase in cannabis use among high school students, with large jumps each grade. Usage nearly doubles from grade 9 (9.3%) to grade 10 (19.9%), and again to grade 11 (30.4%).

Specifically looking at Windsor-Essex County, the COMPASS study reports that 17% of grade 9 to 12 students used cannabis in the past month. The most common method of using cannabis was smoking, followed by edible products, and then vaping (COMPASS, 2018).

It’s important to note that these studies all use self-report data, and may offer misleading information. Due to the fact that cannabis use was still illegal in Canada when this data was collected, participants may have been less likely to admit to using the substance. While it is still illegal for this age group, the fact that it’s legalized may remove some of the stigma and hesitation of anonymously admitting to using it.