Cannabis use in Greece’s capital Athens is among the highest in Europe, according to a Greek professor who spoke to national broadcaster ERT on Tuesday.
Nikos Thomaidis, professor of analytical chemistry at the University of Athens said that Athens ranks fifth or sixth in Europe, according to wastewater analysis data provided by Greek authorities to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs.
Thomaidis said cannabis use dropped in the first phase of the lockdown from March 2020 to September 2020, as in other European cities, attributed to the absence of trafficking.
“In Athens, we saw an increase in use from October 2020 to March 2021. In March 2021 we had quite high use, which corresponds to about 10% of Attica’s population,” he stated.
Cannabis use increases in winter
“Cannabis use increases in winter and decreases in summer,” according to the data, the professor said.
The data also show that cannabis use is higher in Southern Europe as well as certain Dutch cities, and in Paris and London.
Cannabis in Greece is illegal for recreational purposes
Cannabis in Greece is illegal for recreational purposes, though the law is not very strict on limited personal use. In 2017, the Greek government legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and a year later, they lifted the ban on growing or producing it.
Then-Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras commented: “From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal.”
Additionally, the plant was downgraded from a Class A to a Class B drug. This highlighted the Greek government’s softening attitude to cannabis.
Malta first EU country to legalize cannabis
In December 2021, Malta became the first EU country to legalize cannabis for personal and at-home use.
Malta’s parliament approved a legal reform that gives citizens the ability to grow and possess specific amounts of marijuana. Citizens 18 and over can possess up to seven grams of cannabis and grow up to four plants in their homes.
New research published in January indicates that the hemp compounds in cannabis are capable of stopping Covid-19 from entering human cells and infecting people.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Nature Products on Monday, found that cannabinoid acids attach to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, thwarting a key step in the virus’s process of infecting its hosts.