Weed is a commonly used drug in the country, yet many don’t realise its addictive potential or the harm it can cause to society. Five lesser known facts about weed in South Africa, including about marijuana use, abuse and addiction. Read on to understand the facts related to this drug in the country. For a more in-depth look at the harms associated with abusing weed including its impact on the developing brain and on one’s sex life, read this article: Dangers of Dagga: 10 Interesting Facts About Marijuana Use, Abuse and Addiction

Facts about weed in South Africa

Weed is the reason for the majority of people in rehab treatment for addiction

Marijuana is the drug most used by people seeking rehab treatment for addiction. A total of 43.3% of people in addiction treatment facilities in 2018 were admitted for cannabis use. This was down from 56% in 2017.

Daily marijuana users in South Africa are more likely to…

According to a nationally representative survey of almost 40 000 South Africans in 2017, compared to non-users, daily users of cannabis are more likely to:

  • Be male: Compared to women, men in South Africa were about 11 times more likely to be daily weed users.
  • Have a Grade 8-11 level of education: The study authors describe this as “concerning” because it shows that increasing cannabis use is associated with an increasing risk of leaving school without qualifications. Non-users were found to be more likely to have a higher educational qualification.
  • Never have been married: Unmarried people were found to be three times more likely to be daily marijuana users when compared to their married counterparts.
  • Have an alcohol use disorder: An alcohol use disorder is a the medically-accepted term for having a problem with, or addiction to, alcohol.
  • Use other drugs: People who used other drugs were 16 times more likely to be daily weed users compared to those who did not use other narcotics.
  • Live in an urban area: A much higher percentage of urban dwellers used cannabis daily than those residing in rural areas.

Marijuana use is common in the country

Almost 1 in 10 people reported using weed in the preceding three months, according to the 2017 survey. This research found that roughly 2.8% of survey respondents used marijuana on a daily basis. The authors argue that reasons for the high levels of cannabis use include the fact that the drug is widely-accessible and comparatively inexpensive.

Cannabis is very cheap in South Africa

In 2017, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime estimated that the average price of weed per gram in South Africa was R3. Other sources estimate the price to be significantly higher. For example, a 2020 article estimated the price per gram for ‘indoor’ weed, a high-quality and high-potency form of cannabis, to be between R150 and R200. This source estimates that a local buyer could get 10 grams of ‘outdoor’, lower quality weed, for the same price which works out to about R15 per gram.

South Africa is a huge exporter of weed

South Africa’s cannabis sector is worth an estimated R28 billion. South Africa is also one of the largest exporters of marijuana. According to the World Health organisation, South Africa is the third-largest illegal cannabis producer in the world with an estimated 2 500 tons grown a year.

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