Across the globe, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has presented a host of unprecedented challenges and disruptions to our previous patterns of daily life. In these strange times, many people are turning to marijuana as a coping mechanism. We desire a way to relieve these overwhelming emotions, and for many, marijuana provides that escape. Unfortunately, long after the emergency has passed, the need to self-medicate can remain.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant increase in self-reported isolation and loneliness—both associated with increased marijuana use. One study found that persons self-isolating used 20% more marijuana during the pandemic than those who were not self-isolating (SJ Bartel, Subst Abus., 2020).
Even if you’re not alone, you may have had more opportunities to use marijuana because your unemployed, underemployed, taking classes virtually, or because you’re working from home. A survey of 1,054 adolescents in Canada found that solitary substance use was most common and that frequency marijuana use had increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic (Dumas, Journal of Adolescent Health, 2020).
If you have found yourself using marijuana more and more amidst the uncertainty and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, recognize that you are not alone. Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of individuals are grappling with frustration and isolation.
Even so, there is hope, and finding healthy, sustainable coping strategies during these uncertain times is the best way to ensure that, when COVID-19 is a story of the past, you emerge ready take on the joys and challenges of normal life.
If you’ve fallen to using marijuana as a way to blunt your current anxieties, realize that this strategy has its limits. Acknowledging that your marijuana habit has reached an unhealthy level is the first step towards getting help with cessation and making healthier choices in your life.
If you’re interested in taking steps towards quitting or cutting down, check out The Weedless Guide or the section on marijuana addiction treatment. And remember, throughout all of this–you are one of many people having a difficult time this year, and we’re right here with you. Please remember to stay safe and stay strong.