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Cannabis Use is Increasing Globally

By December 19, 2019March 19th, 2021No Comments

Marijuana usage and its potency have been increasing globally over the past decade. While some individuals can use cannabis without harm, the potential adverse consequences are numerous.

Users are at risk of cannabis abuse, addiction, or withdrawal, leading to a condition called cannabis use disorder (CUD). Young adult males aged 18-25 are especially at risk1.


of U.S. persons have used cannabis in the last 12 months.

Cannabis Usage is Increasing Globally

Cannabis use is on the rise throughout the world, creating a significant burden on society and on the healthcare system in particular. The demand for health services to support cannabis cessation has increased in parallel with rising patterns of use and dependence.

In 2016, cannabis was used by an estimated 192 million people worldwide, approximately 4% of the global population aged 15-64. This is a 16% increase in prevalence since 2006.

In North America, among the population aged 15-64 years old, cannabis use increased from 40.5 million in 2006 to 52.9 million in 2016. This increase was most pronounced in the U.S., where annual prevalence of cannabis use is 13.9% of the population aged 12 years and older2. Comparatively high levels of cannabis use have also been reported in Canada, where cannabis use in the past year was reported by 14.7% of the population aged 15 years and older in 2015, up from 9.1% in 2011.

Increases in use occurred across all genders, regions, and educational and employment statuses, with higher rates seen in males and unemployed individuals3.

As the total number of cannabis users has increased, so has the pattern of consumption. In the U.S., the number of daily or almost daily users of cannabis doubled between 2006 and 2016 and the number of past month users increased by 60%. These changes in cannabis use are taking place at a time when perception of risk associated with cannabis is on the decline, while legalization of its recreational use is also spreading throughout the U.S. and globally.

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