Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit substance in Switzerland. According to a representative survey, in 2017, 5.2 % of 15-64 year-olds in the canton of Zurich had used cannabis in the last 30 days before the survey. Extrapolated to the city of Zurich, this would mean that around 16,000 inhabitants between the ages of 15 and 64 regularly use cannabis. In a non-regulated market such as that for cannabis, it is not possible for users to obtain independent and well-founded information about the THC and CBD content of substances acquired on the black market.

With the emergence of synthetic cannabinoids, which since the beginning of 2020 have been increasingly applied to legal, so-called CBD cannabis and deceptively resold as illegal weed, the danger of undesirable side effects for cannabis users has massively increased. The city of Zurich has therefore decided to open a cannabis drug checking service from October 2020 as the first service worldwide. At the Zurich Drug Information Centre (DIZ), a maximum of 10 users can now have their cannabis product checked for ingredients and receive counselling services every Thursday evening.

The results of the analysis offer interesting insights into the current situation on the cannabis market. In addition to socio-demographic data, the questionnaire developed specifically for the service allows conclusions to be drawn about consumption motives, risk behaviour and negative effects in connection with consumption. This report provides an overview of the findings from the first three months of cannabis drug checking.


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