Saturday 24 August 2019

More potent cannabis products sparking EU health concerns

Alexis Goosdeel: ‘Monitoring new trends is important’. Picture: AFP/Getty
Alexis Goosdeel: ‘Monitoring new trends is important’. Picture: AFP/Getty
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Cannabis products have become increasingly diverse in Europe and close monitoring of their potency and potential health effects is essential, a new report warned yesterday.

Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug, with around 24pc of people using it at some time in their lives.

The new report from the EU drugs agency EMCDDA identifies a range of factors behind the current diversity of cannabis products, including policy developments, advances in production and extraction techniques, and changing consumer preferences.

The creation of legal recreational cannabis markets outside the EU is also noted as driving innovation in the development of new cannabis products, some of which are now appearing on the European market.

"The dynamic nature of the current cannabis market and the diversification of cannabis products available bring considerable challenges," said EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeel.

"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."

Cannabis remains the most widely used illicit drug in Europe. Some 17.5 million young Europeans aged 15 to 34 are estimated to have used cannabis in the last year. Around 1pc of EU adults are estimated to be daily users.

Irish Independent

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