If you had to guess, who would you say smokes the most marijuana? I mean, in terms of volume and location around the world? If I had to guess, and based on where I live, I would have said Southern California. I mean, it seems to be everywhere! Sometimes I think I could get high just walking down the street!
But, as much marijuana as Southern Californians smokes, they aren’t the “winners” in terms of volume. Guess who is?
If you have ever been to Australia, you may have noticed that there’s a different “vibe” so to speak . . . and that mostly everyone there seems to be laid back. And now, researchers are saying that one reason for this attitude could be that the country consumes much more marijuana than any other country in the planet.
The results of this recent study were published in an online British medical journal called The Lancet. The study was co-authored by Professor Louisa Degenhardt of the University of South New Wales, and Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland.
The results came from a study that analyzed the global trends in different illegal drugs, as well as their effect on the overall public health. Australians don’t just stick to the herbal drugs, apparently; they also topped global lists for their high consumption of amphetamines.
Running the Numbers
So just how much marijuana are citizens Down Under smoking, exactly? According to the study’s co-authors, Professors Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New South Wales and Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland, around 15 percent of the entire population living in Australia and New Zealand, that were between the ages of 15 and 64, smoked at least once in 2009.
By comparison, the Americas, which have a seemingly large subculture surrounding the plant, only had seven (7) percent of its population partake in smoking. Asia had the lowest percentage of smokers, with only 2.5 percent of its population using the drug. It is important to note that these numbers might actually be incorrect, as it is much more difficult to obtain accurate data in less developed countries.
Why So Much?
The high numbers in Australia can be attributed to large spans of rural areas with little police monitoring, and hot temperatures that cause the plant to grow abundantly. Also, Australia’s culture has been known to place high emphasis on the consumption of intoxicating drugs and beverages. Just like alcohol is seen as an everyday, commonplace thing in our lives that provides a bit of fun for adults, younger people are looking at marijuana in much the same way. This causes them to use cannabis often for recreational purposes.
It is no secret that marijuana is the most widely consumed illegal drug in the world, but the numbers can be staggering. Anywhere from 125 million to 203 million people smoke cannabis each year, far outpacing the second most used drug, amphetamines, of which an estimated 14 million to 56 million people use.
Fortunately, cannabis is also the least likely of all illegal drugs to directly cause death, and in Australia, less than one (1) percent of the population dies from any illegal drug. These numbers have caused some states in Australia to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of the drug for recreational use.