AUG 22, 2023 6:02 AM PDT

Cannabis-Related Health and Safety Considerations during the Pandemic in Canada

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A scoping review examined the patterns of recreational cannabis consumption and cannabis-related health and safety considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. A scoping study aims to map research scholarship to broader social topics. Most Canadian territories and jurisdictions declared recreational cannabis an essential industry during the pandemic. Researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador published the review in the Journal of Cannabis Research. 

The researchers searched four electronic databases and analyzed peer-reviewed studies on cannabis and COVID-19 in Canada published between March 2020 and September 2021. The content analysis indicated several factors contributed to differences in cannabis consumption during the pandemic. These factors included reasons for use, consumers’ age, gender, and preferred method of consumption. They also accounted for health and safety impacts associated with the pandemic, such as increased mental illness, more emergency room visits, and psychosocial effects.

The researchers noted that multiple studies pointed to self-isolation, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, stress, depression, and ease of access as reasons for increased consumption. Cannabis use increased for self-isolating adults by 20%. Those who consumed cannabis to cope with depression demonstrated a 31% increase in consumption from pre-pandemic times. Mothers claimed they increased cannabis use to ease anxiety, depression, and the pressures of parenting during the lockdown. Some factors that contributed to decreased usage include adverse effects of cannabis, limited opportunities for socializing, and family and work responsibilities. Younger people were more likely to increase consumption compared to older adults. 

This scoping review suggested that the impact of the pandemic on cannabis consumption in Canada was more complex than it seemed. This study provides valuable insights that can inform cannabis policy. Canada implemented legal recreational cannabis in 2018.

Source: Journal of Cannabis Research 


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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