Cannabis use has risen with legalization and COVID lockdowns
Places including U.S. states that have legalized cannabis appear to have increased its regular use, while COVID lockdowns had a similar effect, raising the risk of depression and suicide, a U.N. report said on Monday.
Cannabis has long been the world's most widely used drug and that use is increasing while the cannabis on the market is getting stronger in terms of its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual World Drug Report.
Various U.S. states have legalized 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 those three countries.
"Cannabis legalization appears to have accelerated the upwards trends in reported daily use of the drug," the Vienna-based UNODC's report said.
While the prevalence of cannabis use among teenagers "has not changed much", there had been "a pronounced increase in reported frequent use of high-potency products among young adults", it said.