Coronavirus Outbreak Causes Shift In Behaviors Among Marijuana Users: 3 In 10 Are Smoking More

NEW YORK — The number of official coronavirus cases worldwide continues to grow, with more than 3 million infected as of April 28th, including more than 988,000 cases in the United States. With many Americans regularly using marijuana to help reduce anxiety, treat a medical condition, or to simply wind down, have their habits changed as a result of this severe respiratory disease? A survey conducted by AmericanMarijuana.org asked 1,017 American cannabis consumers their attitudes on using the drug in the midst of the pandemic.

Participants were asked if they thought smoking cannabis will make them more susceptible to being infected with the coronavirus. Among the respondents, 144 admitted to having lung problems, while 873 said they don’t. Of those with lung issues, 54% believe that smoking marijuana will make them more susceptible to COVID-19. That number dropped to 34% among those with healthy lungs.

Marijuana consumptions during coronavirus pandemic
(Credit: AmericanMarijuana.org)

Meanwhile, about three in ten (29%) participants are smoking more weed than normal during the pandemic, and 27% are smoking less. About 6% have quit smoking pot altogether because of the pandemic.

Of course, these days there are plenty of other ways to consume marijuana besides smoking. To that end, 72% said they haven’t changed their cannabis habits, whether it’s from edibles, smoking, or oils.

Many people are trying different anti-anxiety measures to deal with increased stress during the quarantine. For marijuana users, 65.49% of those surveyed said they haven’t changed anti-anxiety supplements and are sticking with weed. Of the remaining 34.51% who did try another anti-anxiety source other than marijuana, 76% said that marijuana was more effective than their other treatments.

Interestingly, the rate of sharing smoking apparatuses — bongs, pipes, and joints — has dropped dramatically. About 72% of respondents have stopped sharing smoking apparatuses with others during the outbreak. Of those who continue to share, 38% admit they can’t stop this practice because of habit, while 29% don’t see a valid reason to avoid passing bongs or joints. And 32% said they just want to have some fun during the quarantine.

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As for those who aren’t sharing devices, 21% stopped because they thought they should be practicing social distancing, while 16% said they wanted to lower their risk of getting infected with the coronavirus. The overwhelming majority (63%) cited both reasons.

The survey also touched on how the economic downturn is impacting their marijuana habits. More than one third (37%) admit they are worried about paying for their regular cannabis use.

The survey also tried to glean how marijuana smokers fit in with their families during this quarantine period. Just over four percent of the participants said their family discriminates against them because they’re smoking cannabis during the pandemic. Another 13% said their families are entirely against smoking weed during the pandemic, while about 14% of smokers’ families are only mildly against their marijuana habits. The overwhelming majority of responses (69%) indicated that nothing had changed in the participants’ families’ attitudes.

Perhaps the largest shift the pandemic has caused for everyday cannabis users is how much they share products with each other. The added risk of sharing marijuana has caused 35% of the study participants to continue sharing, with 65% of participants avoiding such behavior for now.

The survey was conducted online by AmericanMarijuana.org using the Mechanical Turk system.

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