Prior to legalization, over one in seven Canadians reported using cannabis–equivalent to the proportion who reported smoking cigarettes
Use of alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis and other illegal drugs varies widely among Canadians aged 15 and older.
According to CTADS 2017 which was released on 2018-10-30, similar proportions of Canadians reported currently smoking cigarettes (15% or nearly 4.6 million) or reported consuming cannabis in the past 12 months (15% or nearly 4.4 million).
While it is not possible to distinguish daily (or near daily) cannabis users from those who consume less frequently with CTADS, other data (such as the National Cannabis Survey data) suggest that about 6% of Canadians use cannabis daily (or near daily), compared with about 11% of Canadians who smoke cigarettes daily.
Nearly 8 in 10 (78% or nearly 23.3 million) Canadians aged 15 and older reported having consumed alcohol in the past 12 months, with almost one-quarter (24% or nearly 7.2 million) being considered heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking is defined as having consumed four or more (females) or five or more (males) drinks, per occasion, at least once per month during the previous year.
A further 3% or close to 990,000 Canadians also reported using at least one illegal drug other than cannabis during the previous 12 months.
Other illegal drugs include consumption of at least one of the following substances: cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, inhalants, heroin or salvia.
A higher percentage of males than females consumed cannabis, tobacco and other illegal drugs. Rates of use tended to be higher among 20- to 24-year-olds compared with those aged 15 to 19 and those aged 25 and older.