San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

2 percent of Costa Ricans smoke marijuana each month, survey finds

A National Household Survey on Drug Abuse conducted in 2010 shows 2 percent of Costa Ricans smoked marijuana in the last month before being surveyed. Survey results were released Monday by the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Institute (IAFA).

The study also found that most Costa Ricans who use pot began smoking it when they were 16 years old.

The number of marijuana users tripled from 0.6 percent in a 2006 household survey to 2 percent of the population of 4.6 million in the 2010 survey, about 92,000 people.

Margarita Odio, of IAFA, said in a press release that the results reflect “the low perception of risk that young people have in regards to consuming marijuana.”

She added that access to marijuana is easier now, and that “there is a rise of cultural movements where cannabis is part of a lifestyle that attracts many young people.”
IAFA claims that earlier use of marijuana can lead to a greater dependence on the drug as teen brains are more susceptible to THC, the potent chemical in marijuana.

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