Cannabis Surpasses Paint Thinner As Most Abused Substance In Japan

By Benjie Cooper

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According to estimates in a new survey conducted at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP) in Tokyo’s Kodaira, over 1.3 million Japanese people between the ages of 15 and 64 have used cannabis, surpassing the number who have used substances like paint thinner to get high.

The organization has conducted the survey biennially since 1995 and the latest one, which they did between September and October 2017, calculated an estimated figure of 1,331,765 regular and infrequent users in the country. The number demonstrated an increase of about 380,000 users from the previous survey while also showing a decrease in the use of what the government has tightened regulations on and deemed dangerous drugs.

Since the crackdown, authorities have suspected that marijuana use had increased; the new survey appears to agree with that notion.

In 2017, there were more than 3,000 police arrests made on charges related to the possession and use of cannabis, up nearly twenty-percent from 2016.

According to those surveyed, 3.3 to 5.0 percent of teens, and people in their twenties and thirties believe that an individual’s marijuana use is a personal freedom issue and that small amounts are fine.

“The scope of exposure to marijuana among young people was bigger than I imagined,” said National Institute of Mental Health section chief Takuya Shimane in an interview with Kyodo News. “I’m worried about the expansion of abuse among them.”

While numerous countries around the world are legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, Japan shows no signs that they intend to change their Cannabis Control Law as marijuana is still widely-regarded as a harmful substance.