More Americans are consuming cannabis as their perception of the health risks declines, the U.N. drugs agency said on Thursday, suggesting liberalization may further increase its use among the young.
In a finding that could feed into an international debate on the decriminalization of marijuana, it said more people around the world, including in North America, were seeking treatment for cannabis-related disorders.
“We have an increase in harmful use of cannabis in the United States,” said Angela Me, a chief researcher of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). …
Global cannabis use seemed to have decreased, reflecting a decline in some European countries, but a lower perceived risk had led to an increase in the United States, the report said, without specifying what may have caused this change. …
Citing statistics from before the new rules took effect, the UNODC said the number of people in the United States aged 12 or more who used cannabis at least once in the previous year rose to 12.1 percent in 2012 from 10.3 percent in 2008.
“Medical research tell us clearly that the use of cannabis, particularly at early ages, can be very harmful for the health,” Me told a news conference broadcast on the UNODC web site.
There has been a “noticeable increase” in the number of persons seeking treatment for cannabis use disorders over the past decade, both in the Americas and Europe, the UNODC said.