The warning is given in a message from the president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Jagjit Pavadia, at the beginning of the body's annual report for 2022.

The study indicates that it has analysed "in detail this trend among a small number of governments" and observed "that the legalisation of cannabis can have many negative health effects, especially among young people".

The organisation points out that the non-medical use of the drug "violates the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961", which classifies it "as a highly addictive substance".

According to the report, in jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, there has been "increased consumption" of the substance, as well as an "increase in health effects and psychotic disorders" and a "negative impact on road safety".

"Most used illicit drug in the world"

"About 4% of the global population, around 209 million people, use cannabis (data from 2020)", which makes it the "most used illicit drug in the world", indicates the release of the report, adding that "the cultivation of the plant has registered a growth trend in the last decade" and that the number of users "has grown by 23%".

Use of the drug varies greatly across regions, but "it is highest in North America, Oceania and West Africa".

The INCB also draws attention to the fact that legalisation results in a "lower perception of the risk" of its use and "is particularly concerned with the expansion of the cannabis industry", which markets drug-based products "in an attractive way for consumers young people," says Jagjit Pavadia.

On the other hand, the council stresses that there are "little reliable data available on the impact of cannabis legalisation to draw meaningful conclusions" and that "the variety of models" used makes it difficult to transfer data sets from one country to another and the predictions about the successes or failures of eventual legalisation.

It, therefore, recommends that "the effects of cannabis use on individuals and societies be further studied before binding long-term decisions are taken".