Legalising Cannabis accelerates Daily Use – UN Report

  • Young people are using more drugs than the previous generation
  • More women than men use drugs and suffer more disorders


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) World Drug Report 2022 has revealed that legalisation of cannabis in some parts of the world appears to have accelerated daily use of cannabis and related health impacts.

“Cannabis legalisation in North America appears to have increased daily cannabis use, especially potent cannabis products and particularly among young adults,” says the report. “Associated increases in people with psychiatric disorders, suicides and hospitalisations have also been reported. Legalisation has also increased tax revenues and generally reduced arrest rates for cannabis possession.”

South Africa, Zambia, Lesotho, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ghana are among African countries that permit cannabis farming as a legal cash crop but Botswana has not yet decided on going that route.

According to the recently released UN report, “young people are using more drugs, with use levels today in many countries higher than with the previous generation”. It notes that in Africa and Latin America, people under 35 represent the majority of people being treated for drug use disorders.

“In many countries in Africa and South and Central America, the largest proportion of people in treatment for drug use disorders are there primarily for cannabis use disorders,” it says. The reports asserts that women remain in the minority of drug users globally and yet tend to increase their rate of drug consumption and progress to drug use disorders more rapidly than men do.

The 2022 World Drug Report provides a global overview of the supply and demand of opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances (NPS), as well as their impact on health.