Cannabis in Europe
Cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs in Europe, with an estimated 22.2 million people using it in the last year. The frequency of cannabis use varies across Europe. One factor is the source of cannabis. In a recent report by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), researchers examined how different sources of cannabis influence patterns of use in Europe. The source of the cannabis can have a significant impact on the frequency of use. It can also influence the quality and potency of the cannabis. The report found that the most common sources of cannabis in Europe are informal or illegal channels. This is followed by home cultivation, and then by licensed dispensaries or pharmacies which are only available in a few countries for medical purposes.
Source of cannabis and frequency of use
According to the EMCDDA, cannabis from illicit or informal channels tends to be of lower quality and potency compared to cannabis from licit sources. This is because such products are often not subject to quality control measures. Thus, can have a contamination of harmful substances such as pesticides or heavy metals. In addition, illegal marijuana can contain other substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids or other drugs. This may increase the risk of side effects and addiction. The lower quality and potency of illicit marijuana may affect use patterns. Users may need to consume larger amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effect. This can lead to more frequent use and a higher risk of addiction. By contrast, cannabis obtained from licensed dispensaries or pharmacies is subject to quality control measures. Potency and dosage are often a standard. This may lead to a more controlled and responsible use of the medicine. Additionally, marijuana obtained through illegal channels is more likely to be smoked. In comparison, marijuana obtained from licensed dispensaries mostly comes in the form of oils.
Another factor that may influence the frequency of cannabis use is the legal status of the drug. This can be discussed on a European country-by-country basis. There are significant differences in the approach of European countries to cannabis. The impact of this approach on the source and frequency of cannabis use may also vary.
Situation in Czech Republic
For example, Czech Republic, decriminalised marijuana in 2010. The government considers possession of up to 10 grams as a minor offence. This has led to a flourishing informal cannabis market where many users purchase the drug through street dealers or friends. As a result, the quality and potency of marijuana are often inconsistent. Users may need to consume larger amounts to achieve the desired effect. This can lead to more frequent and potentially harmful use of the substance.
Situation in Poland
In Poland, marijuana remains illegal for recreational use, and the government has taken a tough approach to drug policy. This has resulted in a relatively small market for cannabis, with most users obtaining the drug through informal or illicit channels. The lower quality and potency of this marijuana can contribute to more frequent use and a higher risk of addiction. However, the legalization of medical marijuana in Poland could lead to greater access to high-quality and safe marijuana through licensed pharmacies. Consequently, the availability of medical marijuana in licensed dispensaries may limit the use of illicit sources of cannabis. Regulation of medical marijuana in Poland is still relatively new. We will observe how this will affect the frequency of cannabis use and the prevalence of related harms.
Situation in Germany
Germany legalised medical marijuana in 2017 and patients can obtain it from licensed pharmacies. However, the high cost and limited availability of medical marijuana are important factors. They have led many patients to obtain the drug through informal or illegal channels. Nevertheless, the availability of medical marijuana in licensed dispensaries provides a safer and more controlled source of cannabis. In addition, some cities in Germany have established community cannabis clubs. They provide a legal and regulated source of cannabis for adult users, although this is a relatively niche phenomenon.
Situation in other European countries
In some of the most liberal countries, such as the Netherlands and Spain, cannabis use is often tolerated to some extent. Users may have access to regulated sources of cannabis, such as coffee shops in the Netherlands. This may lead to less use as users can access higher quality and safer cannabis. It is also worth noting that a country’s approach may change over time. For example, some countries, such as Portugal, have moved to a more public health-oriented approach in recent years. This included a focus on harm reduction strategies, i.e. access to safe places and addiction treatment programs.
Impact of cannabis source on the use frequency – insights
In overall, the approach a country takes to cannabis can have a significant impact on the source and frequency of use, as well as the risks and harms associated with it. Also, the source of the cannabis can have a significant impact on the frequency of use as well as the quality and potency of the drug. While cannabis obtained through illicit or informal channels is more common in Europe, it is often of lower quality and potency, which can lead to more frequent and potentially harmful use. As more and more countries in Europe move towards legalizing cannabis, it is important to consider the potential impact on use patterns and drug sources. By providing access to safe and high-quality cannabis through licensed dispensaries or pharmacies, it may be possible to reduce the frequency of use and the risk of harmful effects.