In 2018, a national survey was carried out to determine the ‘extent and pattern of substance use’ across India. This survey provided data on drug and substance abuse. The findings of the nationwide study served as key to the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment for drafting its National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) 2018-2023. The study concluded that cannabis and its derivatives had an estimated 2.90 crore consumers across India in the 18 to 75 years age group and another 20 lakh users in the 10 to 17 years age bracket. The previous such survey, conducted in 2001, had estimated cannabis users in India at 87 lakh.
The number of cannabis consumers was second only to those for alcohol – 15.40 crore across the two age brackets – and much higher than those who consumed other categories of drugs and substances classified under the survey, such as opioids, sedatives, inhalants, cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and hallucinogens.