Recently released data from an Australian study published in the medical journal The Lancet today confirms what many have long suspected – that cannabis is the most popular drug on Planet Earth. According to the three-part research series, somewhere between 121 and 191 million people between the ages of 15-64 use marijuana yearly across the globe, a staggeringly high percentage of the estimated 200 million users of all illicit drugs (which includes amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, etc).

Though North America is generally most associated with pot use and culture, it is the two dominant countries of Oceania – Australia and New Zealand – that lead in per capita pot usage with an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the 15 to 64-year-old population using cannabis annually. Apparently they really like to party in the lands down under because the two countries also account for the highest percentage of speed/crystal meth usage worldwide, with some 2.8 percent of those nations’ populations indulging in crank. 

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Africa boasts the second highest illegal drug use. Surprisingly, the Americas – North and South – rank only third, with pot use by those 15-64 at 7 percent, with meth used by 1 percent of that demographic on the two continents combined. Not surprisingly, Asia, with the harshest laws, sports the lowest drug use on Earth. 

Hard drug use globally (including cocaine and various opioids besides amphetamine) was estimated to be somewhere between 16 to 38 million, with somewhere between 11 and 21 million going as far as to inject narcotics. But no illicit drug remains as dangerous as legal tobacco – for example, in Australia, 1.3 percent of all annual deaths are linked to all illegal drug intake while a whopping 11.7 percent of Aussies die each year due to tobacco-related illness.

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Also significant in this report was the authors’ suggestion that illegal drugs must be legislated according to the dictates of each individual nation, as opposed to relying on international drug treaties that don’t apply to specific regions of the world, asserting that the present international system of drug control has failed and that a new model must be designed.  

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