Study: Cannabis Use Increased During Pandemic

A recent study found that both jurisdictions where marijuana is outlawed and places where it is authorized for medical purposes had large increases in marijuana use during the epidemic. However, the study published in JAMA Network Open found that there were no appreciable changes in states that permit recreational marijuana use.

According to the authors’ findings published in JAMA Network Open, “we observed higher cannabis use to relax and reduce pain, concurrent with decreasing nonmedical use of prescription drugs and use to get high, suggesting that cannabis may have been used to cope with stressors or compensate for disrupted access to prescription opioids.” The lack of significant variation in percentages indicates that cannabis users will continue to do it regardless of legality.

Adult use of marijuana climbed from 14.5% before the pandemic to 18.1% during the epidemic in states where it is outlawed. States with legal medicinal marijuana programmes had a similarly modest but significant rise, from 16.3% prior to the epidemic to 18.9% during the pandemic.

In comparison to respondents in places where it is illegal, roughly twice as many people in states where it is legal for recreational use reported consuming marijuana. In places where marijuana is permitted for recreational use, however, there was no change in usage patterns, with roughly 28% of adults reporting marijuana use both before and during the pandemic.

The study examined information from 178,824 adults, whose average age was 51. Additionally, respondents were asked why they used marijuana.

Among persons residing in areas where medical use was authorized, significantly more people mentioned relaxation as a motivation for usage during the pandemic than prior to it. “to relax, decrease tension, or sleep” was the top reason for marijuana use both prior to the epidemic and during it. The next two most popular explanations, in order of frequency across all demographics, were “to get high” and “to lessen pain.”

The scientists came to this conclusion after analysing marijuana use across states with various marijuana laws: “More restrictive legal frameworks may not prevent substance use during times of stress.”

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