By Roland Sebestyén
Cannabis use has been significantly on the rise across Europe in the last ten years, according to a recent report.
A new study published in The Lancet revealed that between 2010 and 2019, cannabis use, risky use patterns, treatment rates and potency levels have all increased in Europe.
Moreover, in the same period, the past-month prevalence of cannabis use also increased by 27% in European adults (from 3.1 to 3.9%), with the most pronounced relative increases observed among 35-64 year-olds.
According to the report, in 13 out of 26 countries, over 20% of all past-month users reported high-risk use patterns.
Overall, cannabis use appears to be more common in Western than in Eastern countries – based on data collected between 2013 and 2019, the past-month prevalence of use was below 1% in Malta, Hungary, and Turkey.
Just to compare the numbers, “Western countries”, such as Croatia, Italy, the Netherlands, reported between 5-6% of adult past-month cannabis use.
Not too surprisingly, the highest use rates were recorded in Spain (9.1%) and France (6.4%).
As Canex has reported in the past, Spain’s cannabis social clubs have millions of members within the country, as well as being an attraction for millions of tourists from around the world.
According to an estimation, there are four million local consumers, as well as around 6.5-12.5 million people spending time in the country to enjoy cannabis every year.
That’s a rather large number in a country where cannabis use and possession are still technically classed as illegal.
Similarly, evidence has continually demonstrated that France also has a huge black market, while the majority of the country would legalise the recreational use of cannabis if there was a referendum in the near future.
The Lancet’s report states clearly outline an ongoing trend: the combination of rising prevalence, risky use and potency levels suggest that, overall, THC exposure has increased in the European population in the last decade.
The authors concluded that cannabis use, treatment rates and potency levels have increased in Europe highlighting major concerns about the public health impact of cannabis use.
They said: “Continued monitoring and efforts to improve data quality and reporting, including indicators of high-risk use and cannabis-attributable harm, will be necessary to evaluate the health impact of international changes in cannabis regulation.”