Medication and substance use increases among people using cannabis medically during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Int J Drug Policy. 2020 Nov 24;:103053
Authors: Boehnke KF, McAfee J, Ackerman JM, Kruger DJ
BACKGROUND: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic strains the medical system, limiting access to healthcare services. Many people use cannabis medically for chronic health conditions and as a substitute for other medications. As such, changes in cannabis access associated with COVID-19 may result in increased non-cannabis drug use.
METHODS: We recruited N = 353 individuals through Amazon Mechanical Turk who reported current medical cannabis use in April and May of 2020. We assessed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on patterns of medication and substance use, as well as on cannabis use patterns.
RESULTS: Over half of participants either started using or increased use of medications or substances because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most commonly alcohol and sleep aids. Over a third of participants increased cannabis use while 25% decreased cannabis use. Approximately 40% of participants who increased or started use of medications/substances (other than cannabis) reported doing so because of changed access to medical cannabis.
CONCLUSION: The reported increase in drug use among people using medical cannabis is concerning. Because the pandemic will likely continue for months (or even years), having a better understanding of why this is occurring is critical for developing effective harm-reduction strategies in this population.
PMID: 33250438 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Source: ncbi 2