A total of 119,846 people from over 50 countries participated in Global Drug Survey (GDS) 2017, including 10,100 participants from the United States and 5,400 from Canada.
For the recently published report, researchers focused on national patterns of use/purchase and includes information on how price, dominant preparations, and methods of use vary across cultures. The survey’s cannabis section includes data from 69,299 cannabis users worldwide. The GDS offers a global perspective on how cannabis users from all over the world would like to see the plant legally regulated.
Good Mornings in America
In the case of consumption habits for cannabis, the survey notes:
- 21.9 percent of U.S. consumers light up during in the first hour after getting up — Americans lead the world in this category.
- Mexico, Greece, and Canada round out the rest of the four top locations for “wake and bake.”
- In the Netherlands, only 3.6 percent of consumers enjoy cannabis for breakfast, ranking them in the last place despite their 50 years of coffeeshop culture.
- The world’s most common form of consumption is the spliff — a marijuana joint mixed with tobacco.
- In the US, only eight percent of the cannaseurs mix their cannabis products with tobacco and are thus ranked dead last in the global rankings.
- In Canada, 17 percent smoke spliffs.
- In Italy, cannabis and tobacco are mixed by 94 percent of surveyed users.
- On average, 2.7 joints are rolled from one gram of cannabis.
- When mixed with tobacco, the average is 4.3 joints per gram.
- 43.8 percent of the participants consume “normal cannabis” (mid-shelf), 38.8 percent consume “high grade” (top-shelf), 13.7 percent hashish, 1.8 percent concentrates, and 1.7 percent prefer edibles.
- An average user consumes cannabis 135.4 times a year.
- 18.9 percent consume daily.
- 23.56 percent only once or twice a year.
- Daily consumption is higher in men (20.22%) than in women (15.28%).
- 75 percent of all participating consumers think cannabis should be regulated like alcohol.
- 45 percent want cannabis to be regulated by private companies, 38 percent by non-profit organizations, and 17 percent by the state.
In the past year, 0.9 percent of participants have sought emergency medical treatment after the use of cannabis. In the US, the figure was 0.4, while in Canada, it was 0.5 percent. Most emergencies worldwide were due to methamphetamines (8.2%), followed by synthetic cannabinoids (2.2%), MDMA (1.8%), amphetamine (1.8%), cocaine (1.5%), Alcohol (1.4%), LSD (1.0%). Psychedelic Magic Mushrooms (0.2%) were the only popular substance with better figures than cannabis concerning emergency treatments.
The survey’s founder, Dr. Adam R. Winstock, is a consultant addiction psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust as well as an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. Winstock’s current research interests focus on cannabis withdrawal and dependence, legal highs and mephedrone, and dance drugs based on consumer knowledge. Winstock shared his opinion of the study’s findings earlier this week:
“Congratulations America. Don’t worry about your leader, fake news and the endless incredulous headlines that will no doubt follow in the coming months, it’s time to celebrate your position as the world’s most enlightened and healthy users of cannabis. […]. In summary, American cannabis users choose the safest way of using tobacco among any country in the world. […].The question is whether not this is an issue or not. Are US cannabis users just happy being stoned and don’t see a problem because there is none. Any concerns of health risk are mitigated by relative safe methods of using and good levels of functioning and joy at the drug law reforms wafting across the US. Is it because the idea of waking up and seeing Donald in the White House means not being stoned is just too scary? […]. If are you one of the 25% of US cannabis users who would like to use less check out a new video we’ll launch in early June on how to cut down, use more safely or stop available at www.globaldrugsurvey.com. Or if you just want some quick feedback on your level of use check out the world’s first safer use guidelines at www.saferuselimits.co. I wish the rest of world would learn how to use cannabis like Americans. But maybe just a little less.”
In addition to cannabis, the GDS also focuses on consumer experiences of repression as well as experiences with the most frequently consumed legal and illegal drugs: alcohol, cocaine, magic mushrooms, MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine, LSD, amphetamine, artificial cannabinoids, and Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS). As the authors point out in the preface, the report aims to make the use of psychoactive substances safer throughout the world.
“The GDS is comprised of experts from the fields of medicine, toxicology, public health, psychology, chemistry, public policy, criminology, sociology, harm reduction and addiction. We research key issues of relevance and importance to both people who use drugs and those who craft public health and drug policy. We aim to make drug use safer regardless of the legal status by sharing information in a credible and meaningful way. Our last 4 surveys, run at the end of 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 received over 400,000 responses. Over the last decade GDS has successfully supported the widespread dissemination of essential information both to people who use drugs through our media partners and to the medical profession through academic papers, presentation at international conferences, expert advisory meetings and through drugsmeter.com and drinksmeter.com.”
The Global Drug Survey 2018 will launch in October 2017.