A government survey of high school students across Canada has found 17% used cannabis, including marijuana, hash or hash oil, in the year before being polled.
The study polled 42,094 students in grades 6 to 12, between October 2014 and May 2015 in the 10 Canadian provinces. The results represent more than 2.5 million Canadian students.
Of the students surveyed, only those in grades 7 to 12 were asked about alcohol and drug use, while all grades were asked about tobacco and e-cigarette use.
According to the results, the number of high school students using cannabis had actually dropped from 27% in the 2008-2009 survey.
‘Fairly easy’ to find pot
Interestingly though, while boys have previously been more prevalent users of cannabis, 2014-2015 marks the first time girls and boys were just as likely to use the drug.
As well, it seems students now are slightly older when they first try cannabis, on average aged 14.2 years old, instead of 14 years old as found in the 2012-2013 survey.
If these students are to be believed, it’s also pretty easy for them to get their hands on pot if they want it. Some 41% said it would be fairly or very easy to find.
In terms of risk however, it turns out high school students do somewhat believe that cannabis can be dangerous. Some 58% thought smoking pot regularly put you at “great risk” of harm, while 25% thought smoking weed once in a while also put you at “great risk.”
Only 7% thought there was no risk whatsoever to smoking marijuana.
18% of student tried vaping
For the first time, the survey asked high school students about e-cigarette use. While 6% had tried vaping in the last 30 days, 18% had tried it at some point in their lives.
According to the weighted figures, more than half a million students in grades 6 to 12 had tried cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or both.
Predictably, 23% of students thought there was absolutely no harm in vaping once in a while; only 9% thought there was a great risk of harm.