Cannabis continues to be the people’s substance of choice across the globe.
Recreational drug use in general has been on the rise in recent years according to the United Nations’ most recent World Drug Report. The number of people aged 15 to 64 who consumed recreational substances around the world in 2017 hit 271 million – up 30 percent from the numbers the UN reported in 2009.
Far and away the most popular recreational drug continues to be cannabis, with an estimated 188 million people having consumed the substance over the course of 2017.
And as far as which locale houses the greatest number of cannabis consumers, that award goes to North America where there are an estimated 56.6 million cannabis consumers.
However, Asia came in a close second with an estimated 54.2 million cannabis consumers, proving that attitudes towards cannabis are changing in many parts of the world.
The fact that nearly a third of the world’s cannabis consumers reside in North America can probably be largely credited to the increasing liberalization of cannabis laws across the continent. Going hand in hand with that is a 77 percent reduction in cannabis seizures across the continent since 2010.
Things are also starting to change for the opioid crisis as well. The use of prescription opioids has steadily fallen in the US and a record 693 tons of opioids were seized worldwide in 2017. That’s a five percent increase over the amount confiscated in 2016.
Despite this, opioid-related deaths continue to climb. Over 47,000 deaths were recorded in 2017, that’s a significant increase over the 33,000 recorded just two years earlier.
But, as an ever-increasing number of states begin to implement programs allowing patients to swap their opioids for safe medical marijuana, there is some indication that opioid use is dropping even further.