The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has issued the most recent European Drug Report, which offers an analysis of the most recent data on the medication trends across the European Union, Norway, and Turkey.

The European Drug Report’s aim is to provide detailed and reliable evidence of the drug situation in Europe so that practice and new policies could be informed by solid research. By following trends, judgments can be formed, and forecasts presented about how the drug situation might unwind in the future.

The book provides information on the drug supply and the current market, drug use predominance and trends, drug-related impairments and behaviours, and a general commentary of the drug situation in Europe.

Abstract

This European Drug report provides an analysis of the information on the drug situation and responses to it across Turkey, Norway, and the European Union. It’s encouraged by other online information sources, such as our Statistical Bulletin, including source information. The EDR bundle includes 30 Country Medication Reports, which give a summary of the current situation for all countries joining the EU drug information network.

The report of this year comes at a significant time for consideration on drug policy developments, especially given the debate on the proper follow-up to the United Nations unique session on the world drug problem in 2016. Next year will mark the final evaluation of the current EU drugs policy (2013-20). During this time, Europe has observed some dramatic changes in the challenges the drugs area presents, including the appearance of more non-controlled substances.

We also have seen significant changes in drug use and the drug market, and our understanding of what constitutes successful invasions has increased. A market dominated by plant-based elements imported into Europe has emerged into one where synthetic drugs and production in Europe have increased in importance. Technological improvements and globalization have reshaped the strategic issues that policymakers will need to consider.

We’re proud of the EMCDDA worldwide reputation for maintaining pace with these changes and providing the information required to help support coordination and the collaboration the EU drug strategy envisages.

 

Introduction — Cannabis Highlighted ( From CLR)

Cannabis improvements for Europe’s most established medication

Cannabis is one of the most planted drugs in Europe. It’s the most frequently used illicit drug, with almost 20 percent of those in the 15-24 age group admitting they have used cannabis in the last year. Globally and within Europe, cannabis use remains to be a topic that is creating important policy and public interest, as new additions are triggering a debate on how society should respond to this substance.

There is a discussion currently taking place about the therapeutic value of cannabis, cannabis medicines, and preparations obtained from the cannabis plant. Some countries have legalized cannabis, making consideration of the costs and benefits of different regulatory and control options.

This is a complicated area. In Europe, significant policing resources go into cannabis control, with more than half of the 1.2 million users or possession for personal use crimes reported in 2017 associated with cannabis. Involvement from the cannabis market is also a catalyst for youth criminality and a significant source of income for organized crime.

Additionally, our understanding of the health threats with cannabis use, notably among the young, has increased. Cannabis is now the stuff most usually defined by new entrants to expert drug treatment services as their main reason for seeking help. That is concerned, as, over the past few years, the overall assessment has been that cannabis trends have remained mostly stable. Now, however, this is being disputed by new data, where the number of countries is describing increased use among younger age groups.

Adding to this complexity, new kinds of cannabis have been grown in recent years as a consequence of improvements in cultivation, extraction, and production methods. Hybrid multi-strain plants producing higher-potency cannabis have started to replace organized structures of the plant both in Morocco and within Europe, where a substantial amount of cannabis resin used in Europe originates.

A current EMCDDA-supported study indicates that during the last ten years t both cannabis resin and herb, the potency has increased. The creation of a legal recreational cannabis market in which the drug was legalized is also encouraging innovation, with the evolution of new cannabis products such as e-liquids, edibles, and concentrates. A few of them are appearing on the European market, where they represent a new challenge for detection and drug control.

Recognizing the complex and dynamic nature of this Cannabis policy sphere, the EMCDDA has introduced a series of publications that give evidence reviews and review on this area. These include a summary of the evolution of medicinal cannabis provision in the European Union. The informed debate in this field is hindered by the lack of common conceptual knowledge of medicinal cannabis. This is intricated by the diversity of products available, which may range from medicinal products, including composites from the cannabis plant to raw cannabis formulations.

Cannabis Products With Low-THC Raise Regulatory Issues

Another example of the rapid advancements taking place concerning cannabis has been the appearance in the last two years of low-strength cannabis oils and herbal cannabis for sale in health food shops or specialist shops in several EU countries. Sales take place depending on the claim that these products have no or little intoxicating effect and therefore are not regulated under drug laws.

Cannabis includes many different chemicals, but two cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), attract the most attention. THC is the primary substance obtained in cannabis liable for its psychoactive effects. Products carrying CBD are frequently marketed with claims about their beneficial effects.

The evolving and complex literature on the signs for medicinal usage of CBD and THC was discussed in the latest EMCDDA publication. The new products pretend to have less than 0.2% or 0.3 percent THC and fit inside two categories of products: one aimed at cannabis users for smoking and one — formulations such as oils and lotions — aimed people interested in possible healthcare use.

Some EU Member States consider low-THC products as cannabis extract subject to criminal sentences; others consider them medicines that cannot be sold without permission; a few name them as products that do not pose a risk to public health, and so do not require any license for trade. This development is raising concerns for regulation at both EU and national level.

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