NEW DELHI: The relationship betweenmankind and this graceful plant stretches back 5,000 years or more. Most ancient cultures have recorded its magical properties, ancient languages have names for it. Yet, cannabis is officially counted as a villain, its use banned in most countries.
Cannabis use is recorded in at least 163 countries comprising 90% of the world’s population. “It remains the most widely used illicit substance globally,” a UN report says. It estimates that 119 million-224 million adults used cannabis across the world, 2.6-5 % of the adult population, in 2010. The UN data underlines another aspect: Cannabis use is prevalent everywhere, from the South Pacific islands to Russian steppes, mining communities in the Canadian wilds to Brazilian favelas and from the Himalayas to the Congolese Blue Mountains. Oceania reported some of the highest cannabis use, between 9.1 and 14.6% of the adult population, followed by North America (10.8%), Western and Central Europe (7%) and West and Central Africa (5.2-13.5%). In Latin America, about 2.5% of the adult population used cannabis, while in Asia it was between 1 and 3.4%, an underestimate with China barely counted.