Marijuana was the most widely used drug around the world in 2017, with an estimated 188 million consumers that year, according to a new report from the United Nations.
The 2019 World Drug Report provides an overview of the international supply and demand of cannabis, as well as other drugs.
The data also underlines the challenges and opportunities facing governments and businesses looking to provide safe access to medical cannabis through regulated channels.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that roughly 3.8% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 64 consumed marijuana at least once that year.
The overall number of annual cannabis users is estimated to have increased 30% in the past two decades, the UNODC report found.
Cannabis use is rising in North America but, elsewhere, is mostly flat or falling.
In the Americas, past-year cannabis use rose from 7% of the population 15-64 years old (42 million people) in 2007 to 8.4% (57 million people) in 2017.
The annual prevalence of cannabis use in Oceania fell dramatically, from almost 18% of the population 14 and older in 1998 to about 10% two decades later.
Use is much lower in Western and Central Europe, according to UNODC, with 6%-7% of the population 15-64 years old having used cannabis in the past year.
Asia was the lowest at a roughly 2% annual prevalence rate (54 million people).
More key findings:
- In Canada, past-year use of cannabis in 2017 was 15% of the population 15 and older; 37% of that group used marijuana for medical purposes.
- Nearly a quarter of all past-year cannabis users there were daily or almost daily, according to the data.
- Since 2013, cannabis use in Canada declined among those 19 or younger.
- In the United States, annual cannabis use rose from 9.9% of the adult population in 2007 to 15.3% a decade later.