In Switzerland, in 2017, 4,0% of the population aged between 15 and 64 consumed cannabis in the last 30 days. Consumers were more likely to be men (5.7%) than women (2.2%). The percentage of people consuming cannabis was highest in the 20 to 24 year-old age group and declined with increasing age. Furthermore, the consumption of cannabis was more widespread in French-speaking Switzerland than in German and Romansh-speaking Switzerland. However, in Italian-speaking Switzerland, even less cannabis was consumed.
This indicator is part of the Monitoring System Addiction and NCD (MonAM) of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
Cannabis is the most commonly consumed illegal substance in Switzerland. It is believed that consumption can lead to both physical and mental dependency. The health risks of cannabis use vary according to frequency and duration of use, dosage, drug quality, consumption situation, and the health status and mental disposition of the consumer. Cannabis is especially problematic if it is consumed frequently, in large amounts and over a long period of time. Excessive consumption in adolescence poses a risk to health and mental development.
There are some diseases for which cannabinoids (e.g. THC) can be prescribed as a medicine.
The indicator shows the consumption of cannabis and provides important information about the extent of its use in various population groups and age cohorts.
This indicator was calculated on the basis of data from the Swiss Health Survey (SHS). It shows the percentage of 15 to 64 year-olds living in private households who occasionally or regularly consumes cannabis.
In the 2017 survey, consumption in the last 30 days was asked for. In the survey years 2002, 2007 and 2012, cannabis use at least every month during the last 12 months was asked for. We, thus, have a data break between 2012 and 2017.
The indicator is based on several questions (index HACHCONS) from the SHS. The upper age limit of 65 is for reasons of international comparability as other countries also limit themselves to these age categories.
It is likely that the results present an underestimation of real consumption: For example, for reasons of social desirability, the persons interviewed tend to say they consume less than they actually do. Furthermore, it can be assumed that people whose consumption of cannabis represents a high risk or has already led to changes in their health and social life are less likely to take part in a survey.
The increase in cannabis consumption observed between 2012 and 2017 is probably related to the consumption of cannabidiol (CBD) products. The consumption of CBD has no psychoactive effect comparable to that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
An explanation of socio-demographic variables can be found in the document: Dimension description
- Federal Statistical Office (FSO): Swiss Health Survey
- Marconi, A. et al. (2016). Meta-analysis of the Association Between the Level of Cannabis Use and Risk of Psychosis. Schizophrenia bulletin, 42(5):1262-1269
- World Health Organization (WHO): Cannabis
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