The conversation to legalise bhang in Kenya has been on the lips of Kenyans with the Rastafari Society of Kenya working to make marijuana usage less punishable.
This poses the question of whether they put into consideration the health factors.
Bhang is also known as marijuana, holy herb, kushungpeng, tire, ndom, vela, gode, kindukulu, and cannabis.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) highlighted in a new report released yesterday that cannabis sativa usage that has been legalised in some nations and states appears to have accelerated daily use and related health effects.
The World Drug Report 2022 also covers the effects of the illegal drug trade on the environment, the growth of synthetic drug use into new markets, and the highest level of cocaine manufacturing ever.
“Numbers for the manufacturing and seizures of many illicit drugs are hitting record highs, even as global emergencies are deepening vulnerabilities. At the same time, misperceptions regarding the magnitude of the problem and the associated harms, are depriving people of care and treatment and driving young people towards harmful behaviours,” said UNODC chief Ghada Waly.
According to the research, 284 million people aged 15 to 64 used drugs in 2020, a 26 per cent rise over the previous ten years.
Around half of the 11.2 million persons who inject drugs around the world also have hepatitis C, 1.4 million have HIV, and 1.2 million have both.
The majority of patients being treated for drug use disorders in Africa and Latin America are under 35.
Legalised cannabis on a state level in North America, particularly new strong products with high quantities of THC that cause highs, appears to have increased everyday usage, especially among young adults.
In addition to raising tax revenues, it has reportedly increased the number of persons with psychiatric issues, led to an increase in hospitalisations and suicides, and decreased arrests for possession.
Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, the world’s production of cocaine climbed by 11 per cent to 1,982 tons in 2020, while seizures rose to a record 1,424 tons.
In order to reach markets outside of North America and Europe, about 90 per cent of the cocaine that was seized last year was transported by land or sea.
Methamphetamine (or meth) trafficking grew dramatically between 2010 and 2020, with seizures reported in 117 countries, up from 84 in 2006–2010, and a staggering five-fold increase in volume.
While opium poppy cultivation decreased by 16 per cent globally between 2020 and 2021 to 246,800 hectares, rising Afghan output led to an increase of 7 per cent to 7,930 tons during that time.
While the majority of patients at drug rehabilitation centers in Africa, South and Central America, and Central Asia are treated mostly for cannabis abuse, individuals in eastern and south-eastern Europe and central Asia frequently need assistance for opioid usage.
Overdose deaths in the United States and Canada continue to set records. This is largely due to an epidemic of non-medical fentanyl use, which can be fatal in very small doses and is frequently used to “cut” other narcotics like street cocaine.
According to US estimates, there were over 107,000 drug overdoses in 2017, up from just under 92,000 in 2020.
Due to the high energy requirements of artificial culture, the carbon footprint of cannabis grown inside is, on average, 16 to 100 times greater than that of cannabis grown outdoors. And it is thirty times higher for cocaine made in laboratories than it is for cocoa bean production.
Other environmental effects from illegal coca farming include significant deforestation; waste produced during the production of synthetic drugs, which can be 5–30 times the volume of the finished product; and the disposal of other garbage, which can directly influence the land, water, and air.
As per UNODC, indirect harm is done to other species, animals, and the entire food chain.
Although they continue to be underrepresented among drug users worldwide, women’s consumption rates rise more quickly than men’s do generally, according to the survey, and fewer of them seek treatment.
They are thought to utilise between 45 and 49 per cent of amphetamine as well as non-prescription stimulants, prescription opioids, sedatives, and tranquilisers.
In addition, barely one in five people receiving treatment for amphetamine use are women, despite the fact that they make up nearly half of all amphetamine users.
Additionally, they participate in a variety of activities related to the global cocaine economy, such as coca cultivation, small-scale transportation, and consumer sales.