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Cannabis

cannabis leaf

Cannabis is a natural product, the main psychoactive constituent of which is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) is broadly distributed and grows in temperate and tropical areas.

Together with tobacco, alcohol and caffeine, it is one of the most widely consumed drugs throughout the world, and has been used as a drug and a source of fibre since historical times.

Herbal cannabis consists of the dried flowering tops and leaves. Cannabis resin is a compressed solid made from the resinous parts of the plant, and cannabis (hash) oil is a solvent extract of cannabis. Cannabis is almost always smoked, often mixed with tobacco.

Almost all consumption of herbal cannabis and resin is of illicit material. Some therapeutic benefit as an analgesic has been claimed for cannabis, and dronabinol is a licensed medicine in some countries for the treatment of nausea in cancer chemotherapy. Cannabis products and THC are under international control.

On this page you can find links to data, scientific publications and resources available from the EMCDDA on the topic of cannabis.

 

Highlights: key publications and cannabis-related resources

A cannabis reader: global issues and local experiences

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(Monographs series, 2008) The EMCDDA’s two volume cannabis monograph addresses one basic question. How can I find quality information on cannabis, amid all the bias and opinion? The first volume centres on political, legislative, commercial and social developments relating to cannabis. The second volume is targeted at drugs professionals working in the fields of treatment, prevention and healthcare. Go to publication »

Cannabis drug profile

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(Online publication, updated yearly) The cannabis drug profile provides an objective and scientifically sound description of cannabis and is available online in German, English and French. The profile provides an overview of information about cannabis including the chemistry, pharmacology, synthesis, physical form, and mode of use, as well as a bibliography and suggestions for further reading. Go to publication »

Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in Europe

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The report on the state of the drugs problem in Europe presents the EMCDDA's yearly overview of the drug phenomenon. Each year an overview of the situation with respect to cannabis is present. Issues specific to cannabis covered include supply and availability, prevalence and patterns of use, and treatment, as well as other topics of interest. Go to publication »

An overview of cannabis potency in Europe

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(Insights series, 2004) With the aim of establishing a scientific basis on which to advise policymakers and practitioners in the drugs field regarding concerns related to cannabis potency, the EMCDDA commissioned an investigation in Europe. The results of this study are presented in this publication. Go to publication »

Prevalence and patterns of cannabis use

Prevalence and patterns of cannabis use — most recent synthesis

Each year, the Cannabis chapter of the EMCDDA's annual report (see 'Highlights' above) provides a synthesis of the most recent available data on the prevalence and patterns of cannabis use among the general populations, youth and school populations. Go to cannabis prevalence and patterns of use »

Statistics on prevalence of cannabis use among the general population

The 'general population surveys' data set in the Statistical bulletin provides the most recent available data on prevalence of drug use, including cannabis, in the general population by age group (15–64, 15–34, and 15–24) including lifetime experience, recent use, current use and frequency of use. Go to general population surveys data »

Statistics on prevalence of cannabis use among youth and the schools population

The 'youth and the schools population' data set in the Statistical bulletin provides the most recent available data on prevalence of drug use, including cannabis, in the youth and schools population. Go to youth and schools population survey data »

Prevalence of intensive use and dependence

Statistics on prevalence of intensive cannabis use

The 'general population surveys' data set in the Statistical bulletin provides information on frequent cannabis use (frequency of use in the last 30 days). Go to general population surveys data »

Measuring cannabis-related problems and dependence at the population level

Measuring the proportion of problematic or dependent cannabis users from among the wider cannabis-use base is complex. A focus on this issue is given in 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights): Measuring cannabis-related problems and dependence at the population level »

Treatment demand for cannabis use

Statistics on treatment demand

The 'treatment demand indicator' data set in the Statistical bulletin provides the most recent available data on treatment demand, including treatment demand for cannabis use (primary drug) Go to treatment demand indicator data »

Treatment demand in 'A cannabis reader'

The chapters below of 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights' above), focus on treatment and cannabis:

Health consequences of cannabis use

Health effects in 'A cannabis reader'

The chapters below of 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights' above), focus on health and safety issues associated with cannabis:

Adverse health effects of cannabis use

The 2010 EMCDDA annual report (see 'Highlights above') presented a brief overview of the adverse health effects of cannabis use. For more information, see adverse health effects of cannabis use »

Prevention and cannabis

Best practice for prevention

Though there are no generally specific prevention interventions for cannabis, the prevention module of the best practice portal examines the current evidence base for different types of prevention intervention. See more in the prevention module of the Best practice portal »

Prevention in 'A cannabis reader'

The chapters below of 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights' above), focus on prevention and cannabis:

Examples of cannabis prevention programmes in Europe

The Exchange on Drug Demand Reduction Action (EDDRA) provides details on a wide range of prevention interventions across Europe (as well as types of interventions), including some which specifically target cannabis. Access EDDRA »

Treatment of cannabis use: best practice and provision

Best practice for treatment

The treatment module of the 'Best practice portal' examines the current evidence base for the treatment of cannabis users. See treatment options for cannabis users in the Best practice portal »

Treatment provision — synthesis of data

An overview of treatment provision in Europe, with some cannabis-specific information can be found in the following resources:

Treatment provision and best practics in 'A cannabis reader'

The chapters below of 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights' above), focus on treatment provision and best practice for treatment of cannabis use:

Examples of cannabis treatment programmes in Europe

The Exchange on Drug Demand Reduction Action (EDDRA) provides details on a wide range of treatment interventions across Europe (as well as types of interventions), including some which specifically target cannabis. Access EDDRA »

Meeting: European exchange on the policies and practices in the treatment of cannabis-related problems

In January 2011 the EMCDDA organised a meeting on policies and practices in the treatment of cannabis-related problems in Europe. More information, including presentations »

Internet-based treatment

(Insights, 2009) This review aims to provides insights into the state-of-the-art of Internet-based drug treatment interventions with a particular focus in Internet-based interventions developed in the EU for treating cannabis use disorders. Internet-based treatment »

Harm reduction for cannabis users

Best practice for harm reduction in cannabis users

The best practice portal examines the current evidence base for harm reduction interventions for smoking and inhaling drug use. See more in 'harm reduction interventions for smoking and inhaling drug use' in the Best practice portal »

Harm reduction in 'A cannabis reader'

The chapter below from 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights' above), focuses on harm reduction for cannabis users:

Harm reduction in 'Harm reduction: evidence, impacts and challenges'

The chapter below from 'Harm reduction: evidence, impacts and challenges' (Monographs, 2010), focuses on harm reduction for cannabis users:

Supply, production, markets and supply reduction activities

Supply and productions issues in 'A cannabis reader'

The chapters below of 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights' above), focus on cannabis supply, availability and production issues:

Cannabis supply and drug law enforcement

(Chapter 2, 2010 Annual report) The section 'Drug law enforcement' in Chapter 2 of the 2010 Annual report (see 'Highlights' above), has a particular focus on the supply aspects of commercial cannabis production. View online »

Upcoming publication: Cannabis production and markets in Europe

(Insights, 2011) A new ‘Insight’ on cannabis production and markets will be published by the EMCDDA in 2011. The report will focus on the supply of cannabis products in European countries and examine the type of products available, their origins, their respective market shares and other issues related to distribution and market structures. Cannabis cultivation within European borders, which has become more visible in recent years, will receive special attention.

Statistics on price, purity/potency and seizures

The Statistical bulletin is published yearly by the EMCDDA and provides access to the most recent statistical data relating to the drugs situation in Europe. Information on price, purity/potency and seizures data for cannabis  can be found in the following data sets.

Statistics on drug law offences

The Statistical bulletin is published yearly by the EMCDDA and provides access to the most recent statistical data relating to the drugs situation in Europe. Information on drug law offences for cannabis can be found in the following data set:

Cannabis potency

Potency chapter in 'A cannabis reader'

The following chapter from 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights' above), focuses on cannabis potency:

An overview of cannabis potency in Europe

(Insights series, 2004) With the aim of establishing a scientific basis on which to advise policymakers and practitioners in the drugs field regarding concerns related to cannabis potency, the EMCDDA commissioned an investigation in Europe. The results of this study are presented in this publication. Go to publication »

Statistics on cannabis potency

The Statistical bulletin is published yearly by the EMCDDA and provides access to the most recent statistical data relating to the drugs situation in Europe. Information on cannabis potency can be found in the following data set:

Cannabis control, cannabis policy and law

Policies, legislation and control strategies issues in 'A cannabis reader'

The chapters below of 'A cannabis reader' (see 'Highlights' above), focus on cannabis-related policies, legislation and control strategies issues:

Personal possession of cannabis

(Legal topic overviews, online) The legal status of cannabis for personal use is one of the most controversial policy issues in the European Union. Although cannabis is a classified narcotic drug placed under control by the United Nations and by all EU Member States, the measures adopted to control it at national level vary considerably. This legal 'topic overview' answers the following questions:

Read the topic overview on the personal possession of cannabis »

Drug offences: sentencing and other outcomes

(Selected issues, 2009) The sentences that offenders receive for drug law violations (including cannabis-related) across the European Union are examined for the first time in this ‘Selected issue’. By analysing the most recent year’s statistics, the report attempts to answer the question: What is the most likely outcome for an offender after being stopped by police for a drug law offence of use or personal possession, or supply or trafficking? Access 'Drug offences: sentencing and other outcomes' »

Statistics on drug law offences

The Statistical bulletin is published yearly by the EMCDDA and provides access to the most recent statistical data relating to the drugs situation in Europe. Information on drug law offences for cannabis can be found in the following data set:

Country data

Statistics

The Statistical bulletin provides detailed country-specific prevalence and patterns of use data. However the links below provide quick access to data and information at a country level (including cannabis prevalence data). Access the Statistical bulletin »

Country overviews

Country overviews provide structured synopsis of the trends and characteristics of national drug problems. They consist of a summary of the national drug situation, key statistics at a glance and a barometer showing the drug use prevalence position of each country. They are updated annually. Access Country overviews »

National reports

Commissioned each year by the EMCCDA and produced by the national focal points of the Reitox network, the National reports draw an overall picture of the drug phenomenon at national level in each EU Member state. These data are key information to the EMCCDA and are an important resource, among others for the compilation of its Annual report. See all National reports »

 

 
 

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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Saturday, 13 August 2011