Australian youth aged 12-17 years in the general population

What proportion of Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years have used cannabis?

Among Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years, 7% have used cannabis in their lifetime, 6% in the past 12 months, 3% in the past month and 1%* in the past week.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Please note: The proportion of youth in the general population who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, and past week differs from the proportion of school students who have used cannabis in the past year, past month, and past week (see FAQ: What proportion of Australian school students aged 12-17 years has used cannabis?). These differences may be due to differences in survey measures. In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents are asked about their frequency of use (none to 40 times or more) in the past year, past month, and past week. In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents are simply asked if they had used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, or past week.

Are male or female Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years more likely to have used cannabis?

Australian boys in the general population aged 12-17 years are more likely than girls to have used cannabis in their lifetime, the past 12 months, the past month, and the past week.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Please note: The proportion of youth in the general population who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, and past week differs from the proportion of school students who have used cannabis in the past year, past month, and past week (see FAQ: Are male or female Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to have used cannabis?). These differences may be due to differences in survey measures. In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents are asked about their frequency of use (none to 40 times or more) in the past year, past month, and past week. In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents are simply asked if they had used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, or past week.

Are younger or older Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years more likely to have used cannabis?

Australians in the general population aged 16-17 years are more likely to have used cannabis in their lifetime, the past 12 months, the past month and the past week than those aged 12-15 years.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Please note: The proportion of youth in the general population who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, and past week differs from the proportion of school students who have used cannabis in the past year, past month, and past week (see FAQ: Are younger or older Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to have used cannabis?). These differences may be due to differences in survey measures.  In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents are asked about their frequency of use (none to 40 times or more) in the past year, past month, and past week.  In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents are simply asked if they had used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, or past week.

What proportion of Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years regularly use cannabis?

Among Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, 39% are regular cannabis users.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

Please note: Proportion of youth in the general population who regularly used cannabis differs from the proportion of school students who regularly used cannabis due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: What proportion of Australian school students aged 12-17 years regularly use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, regular use is defined as using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year, while in the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey) regular use is defined as using 12 or more times in the past year.

Regular Cannabis Use: Regular cannabis use refers to using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year (in the case of ASSAD data), or at least once per month or 12 times in the past year (in the case of NDSHS data).

Are male or female Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years more likely to regularly use cannabis?

Among Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, boys are more likely than girls to be regular cannabis users (44% vs 30%*, respectively).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Please note: Proportion of youth in the general population who regularly used cannabis differs from the proportion of school students who regularly used cannabis due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: Are male or female Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to regularly use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, regular use is defined as using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year, while in the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey) regular use is defined as using 12 or more times in the past year.

Regular Cannabis Use: Regular cannabis use refers to using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year (in the case of ASSAD data), or at least once per month or 12 times in the past year (in the case of NDSHS data).

Are younger or older Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years more likely to regularly use cannabis?

Among Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, 12-15 year olds are more likely than 16-17 year olds to be regular cannabis users (45%* vs  36%, respectively).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Please note: Proportion of youth in the general population who regularly used cannabis differs from the proportion of school students who regularly used cannabis due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: Are younger or older Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to regularly use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, regular use is defined as using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year, while in the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey) regular use is defined as using 12 or more times in the past year.

Regular Cannabis Use: Regular cannabis use refers to using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year (in the case of ASSAD data), or at least once per month or 12 times in the past year (in the case of NDSHS data).

What are the most common ways Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years use cannabis?

Among Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, the majority smoked cannabis as a joint (69%) or in a bong/pipe (68%).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as respondents could choose more than one method of use. The proportion of youth in the general population who used bongs or joints differs from proportion of school students who used bongs and joints due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: What are the most common ways Australian school students aged 12-17 years use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents could only select one of four different methods of use and data presented concerns only those who regularly use and the two most common forms of use.  In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents could select more than one of the five methods of use and data presented concerns those who used at least once in the past 12 months.

Where do Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years usually use cannabis?

Among Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years who used cannabis in the past 12 months, the majority typically used cannabis in private homes.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as respondents could choose more than one location. The proportion of youth in the general population who used cannabis at different locations differs from the proportion of school students who used cannabis at different locations due to differences in survey measures (See FAQ: Where do Australian school students aged 12-17 years usually use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents could only select one of 13 different locations and data presented concerns only those who regularly use and the four most common locations where cannabis was used. In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents could select more than one of the 11 locations of use and data presented concerns those who had used at least once in the past 12 months.