Review of the world cannabis situation

Bulletin on Narcotics
April 2008

review-cannabisCannabis is the world’s most widely cultivated and consumed illicit drug, but there remain major gaps in our understanding of global cannabis markets. For example, it appears that premium sinsemilla cannabis, often produced indoors in consumer countries, has become more potent in recent years and that its market share is also growing in some areas. This may be leading to greater localization of cannabis markets. It may also be responsible for the increase in the proportion of cannabis users in treatment populations at the international level.

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Assessing the extent and impact of this trend, however, is hampered both by a lack of international standards on issues such as terminology and by unanswered research questions. In order to arrive at accurate global estimates of the extent of production, there is a need for more scientific data on cannabis yields. On the demand side, more information is required on the question of cannabis dosage and volumes used by both occasional and regular users. Cannabis is not a uniform drug: the impact of using cannabis of differing potencies and chemical compositions needs to be researched. While issues concerning cannabis have been evaluated many times in the past, it remains a highly adaptable plant and, consequently, a dynamic drug, requiring constant reassessment.