Another year, another Global Drug Survey. The 2016 GDS surveyed more than 100,000 people from dozens of (predominately developed) countries, and produced some interesting results regarding trends in marijuana usage. The subjects were overwhelmingly white, heterosexual, and urban, so the data isn’t exactly comprehensive, but it’s still indicative of changes in international and American marijuana consumption habits — and points to the U.S. becoming a uniquely potheaded nation.
The GDS2016 found cannabis to be the second most widely-used drug reported in the last 12 months - ahead of tobacco and trailing only alcohol. No surprise there. But, in the United States, the proliferation of weed legalization seems to be tugging the trend line up and to the right. More U.S. citizens consume weed and more of them do so using vaporizers. This seems to indicate a trickle up, rather than trickle down, effect of legalization.
Globally, “normal weed” remains the most popular form of marijuana, followed by high-potency herbal marijuana, then resin, then BHO. In the United States, 40 percent of cannabis users surveyed reported that they sometimes used the drug for medical purposes, but that could kind of mean almost anything.
This is a particularly interesting result because it runs counter to what is happening in numerous countries around the world, where the prevalence of smoking tobacco and weed seems to be falling. What’s replacing joints and spliffs, at least in part, might be bongs. Specifically, bongs full of butane hash oil, which is more popular abroad. There are many ways to consume BHO, but bongs are currently the most popular.
Another potential trend to watch according to GDS2016 data is synthetic cannabis (SC), but most people still overwhelmingly prefer the natural stuff. SC users tend to be young, with less access to higher education than their organic weed-smoking counterparts. Mostly, though, they tend to be male — four times as many men as women report consuming SC, while rates of natural weed usage between genders are about equal.
Interestingly, ER visits for SC users were 30 times higher than those reported after usage of regular old high-potency organic weed. “If you want to get stoned,” Winstock advises, “use natural cannabis.”
And then there’s this weird addendum: Weed lovers need to avoid Norway. Marijuana is inordinately expensive in Norway, and not just in a everything is expensive in Norway kind of way. The global mean price per gram of high-potency weed is the equivalent of about $14 USD. In Norway it is more than $75,000, to attempt a joke about prospective buyers needing a mortgage. So that’s where all that North Sea oil money is going.