Boredom, self-medication for increased depression and/or isolation, along with the various mental health issues that ramp up with a toxic combination of managing a legitimate mental health concern with a psychotropic toxin that only aids and abets mental health decline – not fix it.
The vicious cycle of very short term ‘alleviation’ with self-medication, to only exacerbate symptoms and disorder accelerating even greater ‘need’ for further alleviation. The addiction for profit industry has hit a gold-mine with their fallacious medicinal marketing and wanton misrepresentation of this far from ‘natural’ drug.
Recent research from the Australian Institute of Criminology (Statistical Bulletin 33, July 2021) uncovered what anecdotal and observation had already assumed. Demand for Cannabis went up during the pandemic
This study uses data from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cannabis demand and supply in Australia. It found past-month cannabis users reported using cannabis on a median of 25 days per month, significantly more often than before the pandemic. Those experiencing changes in their employment, financial or living situation or mental health or who used drugs to cope with negative emotions were more likely to increase cannabis use. Most users reported no changes in cannabis supply, but there were increasing prices and decreasing numbers of dealers in Brisbane.
Quick Points from Discussion
- This study suggests patterns of cannabis use may have been altered by COVID-19 restrictions, but that cannabis supply appears to have been resistant to the impacts of the pandemic.
- Not so much more users, but the frequency of cannabis use was significantly greater than before the pandemic. This is consistent with other research suggesting an overall increase in frequency of cannabis use during the pandemic in Australia (Peacock et al. 2020; Sutherland et al. 2020) and internationally (EMCDDA 2020).
- The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program also found an increase in cannabis consumption, reaching a record high in capital cities in June 2020 (ACIC 2020).
- Increases in the frequency and quantity of cannabis use were significantly more likely to occur among detainees who had experienced changes in their employment, financial or living situation; who experienced changes in their mental health; or who used drugs to cope with negative emotions.
- These results are consistent with Peacock et al.’s (2020) findings that cannabis users were likely to attribute increases in drug use to feelings of boredom (74%), an increase in available time to use the drug (38%) and greater anxiety or depression associated with COVID-19 (11%). These findings suggest it may be important to ensure support services for cannabis use are available to those who have experienced changes in their life associated with the pandemic.
- Other factors may also explain the increase in cannabis use during the pandemic. Economic changes such as increases to income support and policies such as early access to superannuation may have provided some respondents with greater income and increased demand for cannabis. Detainees may also have bought more cannabis as a substitute for methamphetamine following a rise in the price of methamphetamine (Voce, Sullivan & Doherty 2021)
- Cannabis supply appeared to remain stable during the pandemic. Most cannabis users reported no change in availability or quality compared with before the pandemic. Four out of five cannabis users also reported no change in the price of cannabis, and three out of five cannabis users reported no change in the number of dealers selling cannabis.
- 90 percent of those interviewed between June and September 2020 for the Adapting to Pandemic Threats study reported that cannabis was easy or very easy to obtain (Sutherland et al. 2020). The cannabis market may have been less disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic than other drug markets because cannabis cultivation occurs domestically, rather than relying on drugs being produced internationally and trafficked into the country (ACIC 2020). Despite this stability, two in five detainees purchased larger quantities of cannabis than usual because they anticipated a possible decrease in supply due to the pandemic. Seventeen percent of cannabis users also reported using other drugs as a substitute for cannabis, with benzodiazepines and methamphetamine common substitutes for cannabis. These results are concerning, as the risk of drug overdose may be increased when an individual has access to a large personal supply of a drug (Dietze & Peacock 2020), uses a new substance for the first time, or uses multiple drugs simultaneously or concurrently within a brief period (Lalica et al. 2018)