MORE than 168,677 people in Spain started consuming cannabis in 2013 and 2014, according to a new study.
The data was displayed on the last household survey on Alcohol and other Drugs, released on Tuesday (March 3) by the Ministry of Health.
A total of 23,136 people aged between 15 and 64 years old were interviewed to create the report, which showed that 36 per cent of those who started consuming the drug (61,085) were minors, aged between 15 and 17 years old.
Head of the Spanish Government’s National Plan against Drugs, Francisco Babin, explained that the data was probably a result of the low-risk perception citizens have on cannabis, compared to other drugs.
“The messages that the population receives from particular groups about hypothetical benefits of the cannabis are highly influential,” said Mr Babin, who continued: “Science shows clearly that the consumption of this substance damages the nervous system and also reduces concentration skills and task management”.
For the first time in Spain, cannabis has become the drug that generates the most requests for medical treatment, higher even than cocaine and heroin, as 72 per cent of people who asked for help in 2012 consumed cannabis daily or almost daily, according to the report.
The study estimated the total amount of daily cannabis consumers at 620,000 people.
Cannabis was shown to be the most consumed illegal substance (9.2 per cent), followed by cocaine (2.2 per cent) and ecstasy (1.2 per cent).
Mr Babin concluded by saying that the consumption of cocaine and other illegal drugs is currently at a historical low in Spain.