While marijuana use has decreased globally, usage rates are up in the United States and Canada, according to a new United Nations report.
The U.S., Canada, Nigeria and Australia ranked the highest with more than 10 percent of the population, 15 to 64 years of age, admitting to using the drug, the Daily Mail reports.
Even though Western Europe has a high marijuana use, it did not place in the top group. Ecuador, Paraguay, Turkey and Romania had the lowest usage rates.
Despite most of America’s marijuana coming from Mexico, that country’s consumption of the drug was surprisingly low.
The report says that while cannabis herb, “marijuana,” is cultivated and produced in almost every country worldwide, the production of cannabis resin, “hashish,” is confined to a few countries in North Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia. It is difficult to estimate the global levels of cannabis cultivation and production because it is so widespread and ranges from personal cultivation to large-scale farm and indoor warehouse operations.
The U.N. says the reason marijuana usage is high in America is due to “the lower perceived risk of cannabis use.”
“[But] at the same time, more people using cannabis are seeking treatment each year,” the report adds.
The U.N. points out “a risk of heavy dependence, lung problems, memory impairment, psychosocial development problems and mental health problems, and poorer cognitive performance associated with early initiation and persistent use between the early teenage years and adulthood.”
Although this is a 2014 report, Medical Daily notes that data from many of the countries is older than 2008, which is indicated by black dots on the map below. A gray color indicates many countries in Africa and Asia did not offer information.
The U.N. also said the use of marijuana could have a negative impact on America if its legalization continues increasing in popularity.
“In addition to the impact on health, criminal justice and the economy, a series of other effects such as consequences related to security, health care, family problems, low performance, absenteeism, car and workplace accidents, and insurance could create significant costs for the state,” according to the drug report. “It is also important to note that legalization does not eliminate trafficking in that drug. Although decriminalized, its use and personal possession will be restricted by age. Therefore, the gaps that traffickers can exploit, although reduced, will remain.”
NCSL.org notes that a total of 23 states and the District of Columbia now allow for the medical use of marijuana and for recreational adult use in Colorado and Washington.