THC levels in European cannabis have more than doubled in a decade with cannabis the most widely used ‘illicit’ drug in Europe, show recent research.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) report shows that the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration of ‘herbal cannabis’ doubled from 5% to 10%, from 2006 to 2016.
The report — Developments In The European Cannabis Market — provides an overview of emerging and established cannabis trends in Europe.
It says the global moves towards legalisation of recreational cannabis, and the wider adoption of cannabis as a medicine – are driving innovation.
This is leading to a surge in the development of new cannabis products, and some of these are now appearing in the European market.
The report calls for closer monitoring of the health effects of all cannabis products. EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel said: “New and more potent cannabis products may have serious public health consequences for users.
“Therefore, monitoring and understanding new trends in cannabis products available to European consumers today is important to inform the policy and regulatory debate.”
With concentrates, edibles, and CBD nutraceuticals now prevalent in Europe the report calls for new monitoring tools and regulations.
It says: “Having the ability to distinguish illicit cannabis products from cannabis-based medicinal products and unregulated CBD oils will be important for law enforcement in many jurisdictions.”
The report gores on to say that some 17.5 m Europeans, aged between 15–34, are estimated to have used cannabis in the last year, while one per cent of 1% of adults – aged between 15 and 64 years, use cannabis every day.
In 2017, some 155,000 people entered drug treatment in Europe for problems related to this drug, of those around 83,000 were entering treatment for the first time.
Cannabis is now the substance most often named by new entrants to specialist drug treatment services as their main reason for contact in the 28-member states of the European Union, says the report.