Conor O’Brien, George Brown
February 12th, 2020
The European Commission survey interviewed 1,000 participants aged 15+ in each state, except for Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus in which closer to 500 interviews were carried out. Responding to the question “Have you used products containing cannabis in the last 12 months?” ~8% of people across Europe stated that they had consumed a cannabis product in the past year.
The prevalence of past-year usage varied widely across countries. 10 countries had a past-year prevalence of 10% or more of their population. Ireland had the highest prevalence with 17% or nearly 1 in 5 people having used a cannabis product in the past year. At the other end of the spectrum, just 1% of Greek respondents said they had used cannabis. The map below shows the number of cannabis users per country, based on Eurobarometer survey and UN population statistics.
Source: Eurobarometer, Un Population Statistics, Prohibition Partners
Across the EU, inhabitants are 4 times more likely to report using cannabis with tobacco than alternative methods such as vaporisers, or in food and drink. Students, the unemployed (both 14%) and the self-employed (12%) were more likely than those in other socio-professional categories (2-8%) to have consumed cannabis products likely due to more time to engage in consumption. Slightly more males than females reported cannabis usage (9% vs 6%) which is consistent with previous findings. In addition, younger age groups are more likely to have consumed cannabis, ranging from 15% for 15-24-year-olds and 3% for over 55-year-olds.
Overall, the new survey indicates that just under 1 in 10 adults in Europe or over 30 million people consumed cannabis at least once in the past year. This occurs despite the on-going prohibition of cannabis across the continent. Signs of the end of prohibition have begun to spring up in regions like the Netherlands and Luxembourg which are due to introduce limited access to adult-use cannabis in the near future.
It should be noted that these data diverge from the most recent findings from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
A spokesperson for Eurobarometer told Prohibition Partners that the likely reasons for the higher numbers of recorded cannabis users is that the survey took place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and that a broad definition of “products with cannabis in them” was used.
Higher cannabis usage rates are being recorded around the globe during the pandemic, as was predicted by Prohibition Partners early in 2020.