Canadians use marijuana at four times the world average, makingCanada the leader of the industrialized world in cannabis consumption, a recent United Nations report found.

The 2007 World Drug Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says that 16.8 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana or used another cannabis product in 2006. The world average is 3.8 per cent.

Inthe report, Canada ranks fifth in the world for marijuana use, behind Ghana at 21.5 per cent, Zambia, 17.7 per cent, and Papua New Guinea and Micronesia with 29 per cent each.

Cannabis accounts for the bulk of global drug use, consumed by 160 million people.

In 2006, about 200 million people, or five per cent of the world's population aged from 15 to 64, used drugs at least once. Of those, an estimated 25 million had drug dependencies.

The report found that Canada also had a high rate of usage for cocaine, at 2.3 per cent of population, ranking it third behind Spain and England.

For the other top three drugs — heroin, amphetamines and ecstasy — Canada was near or under the international average for usage.

The UN report found that overall, drug usage around the world is relatively stable for the third year in a row.

"Overall, we seem to have reached a point where the world drug situation has stabilized and been brought under control," said the report.