Marijuana consumption internationally has fallen, the 2014 United Nations Drug Report found, but consumption is up in United States. The U.S., Canada and Australia had some of the highest rates of consumption.
More than 10 percent of the population, 15 to 64 years of age, admitted using the drug, Medical Daily noted. Though Western Europe had high rates of cannabis use, it did not rank at the top. Ecuador, Paraguay, Turkey and Romania had the lowest incidence of pot use.
The United Nations said the reason for the increased use of marijuana in the United States was because of “the lower perceived risk of cannabis use,” but increased use has also led to more people seeking treatment for addiction.
The U.N. cites the “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.”
Nearly 9 percent of people who use pot become dependent on it, the National Institutes of Health told the Christian Science Monitor. Dependency has increased along with the overall general use of the drug, which has become more potent due to genetic selection.
"Daily use can have stronger effects on a developing teen brain than it did 10 or 20 years ago,” the NIH wrote.
The U.N. warned pot use could affect the country negatively if its popularity continues to rise through legalization nationwide.
“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,” the 2014 drug report stated.
“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.”
Leaf Science wrote 14.8 percent of the U.S. population has used marijuana. It is legal in 22 states and the District of Columbia for medical use and for recreational use in Colorado and Washington.
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