The latest UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) study has shown that marijuana is the highest cultivated and most consumed drug existing today. It is produced in almost every country with an overall production of approximately 50,000 tonnes per year. The drug has more than 120 million users worldwide.
We will never know the exact amount of marijuana that is produced and consumed globally. The only way we can get an indication of the amount is by creating surveys. The latest information collected by the UNODC has shown that North America (10.7%), Central Europe (7.6%) and Oceania (10.9%) have the highest percentage levels of consumption compared to the rest of the world. The results indicated that Africa has very high levels as well, but very little of Africa was tested, so overall the numbers were not very accurate.
Why are levels of consumption so high? From what we know, there are two very concerning issues that may well be causing this.
Increases in hydroponic cultivation
Trends have shown that hydroponic cultivation is becoming increasingly popular compared to regular cultivation. Hydroponic growth is when plants are grown without the use of soil and are given mineral supplements to assist with their growth. This means that plants can be grown more easily by being indoors and therefore the plants can be produced in higher numbers. Besides this fact, hydroponic growth has also shown to increase the potency of the end product.
Production of imitation drugs
Imitation drugs (synthetic marijuana) are becoming ever more popular. They are produced by spraying natural herbs with synthetic chemicals in order to imitate the high which is gained from marijuana. This line of marijuana is very easy to buy but also rumored to have extreme bad effects on your health. There have never been any long-term tests completed on imitation drugs, so the long-term effects for all we know could be devastating.
One very controversial question that is asked in many countries is – ‘’should marijuana become legalised?’’. What effect would this have on the world if the drug was to become legalised? Looking at the 2013 Rossmallen poll which was completed in America, 44% of the people surveyed agreed to the legalisation of the drug. Are these people all just consumers of marijuana, wanting easier access, or are they on the right track to solving a worldwide issue?