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Where marijuana legalization, including in U.S. states, appears to have increased regular marijuana use, the COVID-19 lockdowns have had a similar effect, increasing the risk of depression and suicide, according to a United Nations report on Monday.
Cannabis has long been the most widely abused drug in the world, and as the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis increases, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual world drug report. volume is increasing. .
Several U.S. states have legalized the non-medical use of marijuana, starting with Washington and Colorado in 2012. Uruguay legalized it in 2013, and Canada in 2018. Other countries have taken similar steps, but the report focuses on these three.
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“The legalization of marijuana appears to have accelerated the reported upward trend in daily use of the drug,” the Vienna-based UNODC report said.
He said that while there was “no significant change” in the prevalence of marijuana use among teens, “there has been a significant increase in frequent use of potent products by young people”.
“There has been an increase in the rates of mental illness and suicide associated with regular cannabis use. »
According to the report, some 284 million people, or 5.6% of the world’s population, used drugs such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines or ecstasy in 2020, according to the latest data available. Of these, 209 million have used marijuana.
“The lockdown period during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in cannabis use … in 2020,” he said.
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He added that cocaine production hit an all-time high in 2020, maritime trafficking was growing, and seizure data for 2021 showed expansion beyond the two main markets of North America and India, from Europe to Africa and Asia.