Cannabis leaf and cbd oil on a yellow backdrop

National Drug Survey Finds Over 22% of Cannabis Users Take The Drug Medically


For the first time in it’s history, the National Drug Survey covered and emerging topic in the Australian cannabis industry – medicinal cannabis. Results revealed a range of interesting insights.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) releases the findings of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) every three years, with over 22,000 Australians participating in the 2019 survey.

You can find the full report here

Since the last survey in 2019, cannabis use among Australians has increased by 1.2%. However, for the first time ever, the survey also questioned participants about the medical use of cannabis – an increasingly vogue topic in recent years. 

When discussing cannabis, the study account for three forms: leaf cannabis, cannabis resin and cannabis oil. It also focuses on Australians who obtained cannabis illegally. In total, 11.7% Australians over the age of 14 used cannabis in 2019 at a total of 2.5 million people.  

Of Australian cannabis users, 23.1% of users reported using the drug for medical purposes. This totals 600,000 people or 2.7% of the general population. It’s important to note that 16.3% of this group also use the drug for non-medical purposes on occasion. 

Out of all cannabis fans, people aged 60+ are the most likely to use cannabis for medical reasons, with 43% of people who use cannabis medically over the age of 50. You can see the breakdown of cannabis users ages below. 

Medical cannabis users are also 22.6% more likely to have underlying health conditions than other Australians.

Of people who use cannabis for medical purposes, over 53% have chronic pain conditions, 20% have hypertension and 53% have mental health conditions. These users are also using cannabis more frequently than non-medical users, with 24% using daily and 32% using weekly. 

Where and how?

The study also tells where people got cannabis and how they take it. When compared to regular cannabis users, medical users are more likely to use cannabis oil than leaves. Only 22% of medical cannabis users are buying from dealers, with home-grown options becoming more popular. 

Speaking about respondents attitudes towards cannabis legalisation, the NDSHS says:

For the first time in 2019, more people supported the legislation of cannabis than opposed it, with opposition declining since 2007.

For more information on Australia’s cannabis attitudes, click here

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Based in Victoria, Karie's passionate about pro-cannabis legislation in Australia. She's joined Pondering Pot to share and bring awareness to the latest cannabis news across Australia.

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