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Legalization appears to increase regular use, says UNODC

US states that have legalized marijuana appear to have increased their regular marijuana use and COVID-19 containment measures have contributed to this, increasing the risk of depression and suicide, according to the United Nations report released Monday.

Marijuana has long been the most abused drug in the world and this use is increasing as marketed marijuana becomes stronger in terms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the United Nations Office has said. United Nations Against Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its annual report. about drugs in the world.

The world drug intake 2022 highlights post-marijuana legalization trends, environmental impacts of illicit drugs, and drug use among women and youth. Several US states have legalized the non-medical use of marijuana, beginning with Washington and Colorado in 2012. Uruguay legalized it in 2013, as did Canada in 2018. Others have taken similar steps, but the rapport focused on these three countries.

Released today, the report also details unprecedented increases in cocaine manufacturing, the expansion of synthetic drugs into new markets, and continuing gaps in the availability of drug treatment, especially for women.

Marijuana on the market is getting stronger in terms of THC content

Marijuana legalization appears to have accelerated upward trends in reported daily use of the drug, according to the Vienna-based UNODC report. While the prevalence of marijuana use among adolescents has not changed significantly, there has been “a pronounced increase in reported frequent use of high-potency products among young adults,” according to The Good Relationship.

“The proportion of people with psychiatric disorders and suicides associated with regular marijuana use has increased.” The report indicates that around 284 million people, or 5.6% of the world’s population, used a drug such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines or ecstasy in 2020, the most recent data available. Of these, 209 million have used marijuana.

The periods of confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in marijuana use in 2020, the study indicates. Cocaine production hit a record high in 2020 and trafficking by sea is intensifying, it adds, with seizure data from 2021 suggesting an expansion out of the two main markets of North America and Europe into Africa and Asia.

Opioids remain the deadliest drugs, according to the report, fentanyl having pushed US overdose deaths to a new high: the provisional estimate for 2021 is 107,622. According to an annual government survey, the United States saw a significant increase in the percentage of people over the age of 2019 who used marijuana in the previous month of 26, as well as those who used it daily or almost daily.

Before the recent changes in the legality of cannabis, it was thought that more readily available marijuana could increase casual use by attracting so-called cannacurists. Surprising data shows that it has also fueled an increase in heavy smokers.