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Understanding cannabis use in Australia

A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare provides an illuminating snapshot into cannabis, Australia’s most popular illegal drug. 

It reveals around 2.5 million people used cannabis in the previous 12 months in 2022-23. Cannabis also dominates Australia’s illegal drug market and accounted for over 1 in 2 illegal drug seizures in 2020-2021.  

Not everyone who uses cannabis experiences adverse effects, but sustained use can lead to dependence and have adverse psychological consequences. The report indicates that around 1 in 5 people who use cannabis were identified as having moderate or high-risk cannabis use, and 1 in 10 reported that they could not cut down their cannabis use even if they wanted to. 

Notably, young people aged 14-19 were disproportionately affected by high-risk use, as were females and those with a mental illness diagnosis. People under 30 were also more likely to have recently used cannabis than those in older age groups.  

This report provides a vital glimpse into Australia’s cannabis use. By seeing who is most at risk of harmful use, we can better reach out to help those who may be affected.  

The full report is available on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website. 

If you or someone you know needs help with substance use, call the Alcohol and Other Drugs Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015.