Cannabis users consumed more during COVID pandemic, according to UMass Dartmouth and Cannabis Center of Excellence study

Since Covid-19 pandemic changed daily life in Massachusetts, cannabis Users consume more and a higher percentage see price as a barrier to obtaining cannabis products, according to the study results.

A survey of 346 people found that 49% have used more cannabis since the start of the pandemic, according to preliminary results from the Cannabis Center of Excellence and the UMass Cannabis and COVID-19 Research Study Dartmouth.

Of all respondents, 53% actively use cannabis to reduce drug use, according to preliminary results, which were presented on Wednesday. Respondents found cannabis to be most helpful for anxiety, depression, chronic and severe pain, and insomnia.

Data collection began in May. Respondents were roughly split between males and females, 73% are Massachusetts residents and 10% are veterans. Half of the respondents, 174 people, are 42 years of age and over. The other 172 are 41 and under.

Of those polled, 7% said they were infected with the coronavirus, 10% believed they had the virus but could not access a test, and 12% had symptoms of the virus.

Coronavirus impacts were observed among those who participated in the investigation. Over 60% of those surveyed said they felt nervous and over 70% practiced social distancing. Of the younger half of respondents, 65% feared contracting the virus and 36% lost their jobs. In the older half, these problems affected 49% and 18% respectively.

Among the youngest respondents, 45% use cannabis to cope with the emotional effects of COVID, compared to 30% in the older group.

A portion of the total respondents, 38%, said the pandemic had had no impact on their lives, according to the results. Eighteen percent of respondents said they could not afford cannabis due to the impact of COVID-19.

Preliminary results from the Cannabis Center of Excellence and the UMass Dartmouth Cannabis and COVID-19 Research Study showed changes in cannabis use before and after the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, 33% of respondents cited money as a barrier to buying cannabis. Post-COVID, this rose to 39%, according to the study.

Thirty percent of respondents said they grow cannabis at home. After the start of the pandemic, 17% started growing cannabis at home.

Among the younger group of respondents, 41% have a medical card, 77% use cannabis for anxiety, 72% for depression, 27% for PMS symptoms and 23% for ADHD. In the older population, 53% have a medical card, 69% for anxiety, 67% for depression, 7% for PMS symptoms and 31% for ADHD.

The primary method of use among respondents was flower smoking, followed by edibles and vaping.

The study continues until 2021.

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