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Almost 4% of adults worldwide use cannabis

A cannabis plant
A cannabis plant

Almost 4% of adults worldwide use cannabis despite the adverse effects that this drug can have on health, according to an article published in the British medical journal The Lancet dated Saturday.

The data from the United Nations Organization against Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that in 2006 there were 166 million cannabis users aged 15 to 64, i.e. 3.9% of the world population of this age.

This product is no longer used among young people in rich countries with leading the United States, Australia and New Zealand, but also appears to be spreading worldwide.

In terms of public health problem, by contrast, cannabis use is probably modest compared to the burden of alcohol, tobacco or other illegal drugs.

However, cannabis is a risky thing: impaired lung function, risk of accident, crisis, anxiety or psychotic episode in patients predisposed.

About 9% of people who smoke cannabis become addicted, according to the authors. By comparison, the risk of nicotine dependence is 32%, heroin - 23%, 17% for cocaine and 15% for alcohol and 11% for stimulants.

Most heavy smokers also smoke tobacco, making it difficult to discern its exact share in the occurrence of lung cancer, for example.

As for tobacco, cannabis smoke contains various toxic components, sometimes even of higher concentrations. Cough and bronchitis are common among regular cannabis smokers. Similarly, smoking tobacco and/or cannabis during pregnancy may help reduce the weight of the unborn child (see: Pregnant woman is smoking  "for two").

The marketing of selected plants with high content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient of cannabis raises concerns.

High levels of THC can increase anxiety attacks, depression and psychotic symptoms among new users and the risk of dependence if smokers can not measure the dose, the authors note.


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