Recreational legalisation and Covid lockdowns have led to increasing regular use of stronger cannabis according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Its World Drug Report, which focused on the US, Canada and Uruguay when assessing the impact of legalisation, said: “Cannabis legalisation appears to have accelerated… reported daily use of the drug”, while “periods of lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic” also contributed to the upward trend in 2020.
While use among teenagers appeared not to have changed significantly, UNODC said there had been “a pronounced increase in reported frequent use of high-potency products among young adults”.
It warned: “The proportion of people with psychiatric disorders and suicides associated with regular cannabis use has increased.”
However, it said opioids remain the deadliest drugs, with fentanyl driving US overdose deaths to a new provisional record of almost 108,000 in 2021.
Approximately 209 million people around the world used cannabis in 2020, according to the report.