Article by, The Cannabist
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released its 2017 World Drug Report, covering 2015 statistics from around the world. The report finds that cannabis is the most consumed, most widely cultivated and most confiscated drug the office tracks.
Despite leading in all of these categories, UNODC reported zero fatal marijuana overdoses in 2015, unchanged from 2014.
Here’s a look at some of the intriguing stats in the report:
The report states that cannabis is the planet’s most widely consumed drug, with an estimate of 3.8 percent of the adult population using it in 2015. This translates to an estimated 183 million people (with a lower range on the estimate of 128 million and an upper range of 238 million). Other drugs tracked in decreasing order of use include opioids (upper limit of .88% of population), opiates, cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy. 39 percent of individuals reported in treatment for “drug disorder” are being treated for cannabis.
Prevalence of use varies by country.
The report dives deep into changing laws in the United States for recreational and medical marijuana. The UNODC report cites data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) for use trends. NSDUH noted an increase of past-month marijuana use for the population age 12 and older, from 6.2 percent in 2002 to 8.3 percent in 2015. According to NSDUH, in 2015 an estimated 22 million Americans age 12 and older used marijuana in the past month.
The report states that in the European Union, about 6.6 percent of people age 15-64 used cannabis in 2015. On the younger side of the demographic, those age 15-34 use at a higher rate of 13.3 percent. Around 3 million adults (1 percent) in the European Union are estimated to be daily or near-daily cannabis users, 70 percent of whom are between 15 and 34 years old and mostly male. In the countries that allow medical cannabis use, past-month, non-medical use of cannabis increased significantly among the population aged 26 years and older, from 5.8 percent to 7.2 percent over the period 2004-2013. However, among the younger age groups (12-17 years and 18-25 years), changes in the prevalence of non-medical cannabis use were not statistically significant and not considered to be related to the measures that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Cultivation and seizure
The report also found that cannabis is the most widely “illicitly produced” drug worldwide. From 2010-2015, UNODC tracked reports of cultivation of cannabis by 135 countries. For contrast, 49 countries reported cultivation of opium poppy (the source of heroin) and only eight countries reported coca bush (the source of cocaine).
Cannabis seizures were reported in 164 of 168 countries.