ALMOST three quarters of Australians growing their own cannabis are using it for medical use, according to Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute.
The Institute is helping to run the Australian arm of an international survey on small-scale cannabis cultivation, with the findings used to shape future cannabis legislation.
NDRI Professor Simon Lenton says early findings show medical use was the most common reason for Aussies growing weed.
“Growing for personal medical use appears much more common in Australia than most other countries and the proportion of Australian growers reporting medical use as a motivator substantially increased from the first survey, from 54 per cent in 2012 to 74 per cent this year,” Prof Lenton said.
“This likely reflects shifts in the policy landscape over the past decade, where new legal and medical regimes have brought medicinal cannabis to the forefront of discussion around public health policy.”
Prof Lenton added that growing cannabis for medicinal use was not as popular outside Australia (ranked sixth overall across all other countries).
Early findings also showed that nearly half of Australians in the survey grew their own weed to avoid contact with criminals, 60 per cent for recreational use, and more than half believe it is healthier than the cannabis they can buy on the streets, with 45 per cent scared of purchasing weed that contained adulterants.
Prof Lenton noted that only six per cent of survey respondents were growing cannabis to sell it.
The first international cannabis survey ran in 2012 and helped inform cannabis legislation in several countries, including the decision in Australia to decriminalise use and small-scale cultivation in the ACT.
Almost 7000 cannabis growers have completed the latest survey, but researchers say the response in Australia has been underwhelming.
To take part in the survey go to worldwideweed.nl