Cannabis use rises with legalization and COVID lockdown, UN says

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Places including US states that have legalized cannabis Its regular use appears to have increased, while COVID lockdowns have had a similar effect, raising the risk of depression and suicide, according to a UN report released on Monday.

Cannabis has long been the world’s most widely used drug and its use is on the rise as cannabis on the market grows stronger in terms of its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, according to the annual report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). UN). Narcotics report.

Various US states have legalized the non-medical use of cannabis, starting with Washington and Colorado in 2012. Uruguay legalized it in 2013, as did Canada in 2018. Others have taken similar steps, but the report focused on these three countries.

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Highland Cafe's first customer, Rittipomng Bachkul, holds a piece of cannabis at Highland Cafe on the first day of being banned from the drug list under Thai law in Bangkok, Thailand, June 9, 2022.

Highland Cafe’s first customer, Rittipomng Bachkul, holds a piece of cannabis at Highland Cafe on the first day of being banned from the drug list under Thai law in Bangkok, Thailand, June 9, 2022.
(REUTERS/Athit Perawongmeta)

“The legalization of cannabis appears to have accelerated the upward trend in daily use of the drug,” the report said. UNODC in Vienna says in the report.

While the prevalence of cannabis use among adolescents “has not changed much,” there is “a clear increase in reports of frequent use of potent products among young people,” the report said.

“The proportion of people with psychiatric disorders and suicides associated with regular cannabis use has increased.”

The report states that approximately 284 million people, or 5.6% of the world’s population, used drugs such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines or ecstasy in 2020, according to the most recent data available. Of these, 209 million used cannabis.

“Periods of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in an increase in cannabis use … in 2020,” the post reads.

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Cocaine production hits record high in 2020 and maritime trafficking is on the rise, it added, with seizure data for 2021 pointing to an expansion beyond the two main markets of North America and Europe into Africa and Asia.