France still European champion of cannabis use

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Good and bad news. The first is that young French people consume a little less cannabis than ten or fifteen years ago. But despite this slight decline, France retains its unenviable title of champion of Europe for the use of this drug. A " singularity that persists since the 2000s "as highlighted by a report (1) made public Thursday, April 18 by the French Office of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT).

" With 41% of individuals aged 15 to 64 years of age indicating that they have already smoked cannabis, France occupies in 2016 the first European table, ahead of Denmark (38%), Italy (33%) and Spain (32%) "The report points out that levels of use in France are close to those of the two most consumer countries in the world, Canada and the United States.

7.2% of regular users in 2017

However, in recent years, cannabis is a little less recipe for youth. In 2002, half of the 17-year-olds said they had already tried it. In 2017, this is no longer the case for 4 out of 10 young people. There is also a drop among 17-year-olds who have already used cannabis in the past year: they were 31% in 2017 compared to 38% in 2014.

Even regular users (at least 10 drinks in the past month) are down: 7.2% in 2017 against 9.2% in 2014. But even a slight decrease, the number of consumers remains the least. And the OFDT estimates that at age 17, 7.4% of teens are at high risk " problematic use of cannabis ". About 60,000 young people.

Green light with therapeutic cannabis

A figure that challenges especially as everyone agrees today to denounce the risks of heavy consumption of a drug, much more dosed in active ingredient (THC) than in the past. " In the short term, cannabis use alters perception, attention and immediate memory, which can disrupt tasks such as school work for the youngest and driving. Drivers under the influence of cannabis have a risk of road accidents multiplied by 2 ", warns the OFDT, adding that acute intoxication can also give rise to "Anxiety disorders in the form of panic attacks (bad trip) or a very distressing depersonalization syndrome Says the report.

The risk of psychotic disorders

Another finding: the regular use of cannabis increases the risk of psychotic disorders, especially in case of personal or family history, and can precipitate the development of schizophrenia. " Finally, cannabis use promotes the occurrence of myocardial infarction and stroke ", Says the report, noting that cannabis is the first substance at the origin of emergency use related to drug use, responsible for 27% of them, or 5,500 passages enumerated in 2018.

How to explain that France is, for so long, the first European country for the use of cannabis? " This is probably related to the very wide availability of the product in our country. Cannabis is much more accessible than in other European countries. And its price, between 7 and 10 € per gram, is also more attractive "Says Julien Morel d'Arleux, director of the OFDT, evoking another tricolor singularity: the high level of use in adults.

Between 2000 and 2017, there was also a doubling of regular consumption among 18-64 year olds. " We can see that a lot of people, who started using cannabis when they were teenagers in the 2000s, continue to use it more or less regularly today. "Says Julien Morel d'Arleux.

And adults, too, are not immune to risks. According to the report, 2.8% of 18-64 year-olds, still a little over 1 million people, high risk of problematic use or even dependence on cannabis ".

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