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Coronavirus & Marijuana: The Rise in Marijuana During Coronavirus

Coronavirus & Marijuana: The Rise in Marijuana During Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has been responsible for the shutdown of public events and places.

People are being asked to stay home and keep their distance from others. While some people are loading up on alcohol to ride out the wait at their homes, others are turning to marijuana during coronavirus.

The Increase in Marijuana Use During Quarantine & Social Isolation

Along with grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations, some states are considering cannabis dispensaries as essential businesses. Massachusetts currently considers medication marijuana dispensaries essential, but the adult-use side is not. Many people are unhappy with this differentiation and are pushing for recreational marijuana sales to continue.1

For those states that are able to sell recreational marijuana, people are taking full advantage. There has been a large rise in marijuana sales in the United States since the stay-at-home orders first started to take place. Some states have seen as much as a 20% increase in sales.2 Edibles, in particular, have been flying off the shelves with the highest change in average daily sales at a whopping 28%.3 This may be happening for several reasons.

Along with the initial spike in toilet paper or alcohol sales, some people are stocking up on supplies now with the intent of hunkering down at home for several weeks. The same may go for weed. Many people are getting their supply now while they still can, uncertain of what the future may hold. While this may account for some of the spike, the question still remains: why marijuana?

With the stay-at-home orders and some people laid off from their jobs, many people find themselves with more time on their hands than usual.  Marijuana has traditionally been a drug used in a relaxed setting with many people content to smoke at home, even if it is alone. Because social distancing calls for just that, many people are seizing the opportunity and smoking marijuana during the coronavirus lockdowns.

Another reason people may be turning to marijuana during quarantine is because they are using it to cope with coronavirus anxiety and stress. The coronavirus pandemic is doing a number on many people’s mental health, so people are turning to marijuana in large numbers to help them relax and ease their anxiety.

The Long-Term Impact of Marijuana Use During Coronavirus

While people may be looking to marijuana during COVID-19 for short-term relief, this increased use could have lasting impacts. Using marijuana to cope with poor mental health is a behavior pattern that is not unlike drug addicts and alcoholics who turn to their substances of choice during times of high stress and anxiety. Eventually, this repeated behavior is what leads to an addiction and many people would need substance abuse treatment to quit. While marijuana may not be physically addictive like other drugs or alcohol, there is evidence to suggest that marijuana is addictive psychologically. This psychological dependence can be destructive as people come to rely on marijuana to cope instead of addressing their underlying mental health problems.

Another way that this rise in marijuana use during the coronavirus could be problematic is the fear that it may be a gateway drug. A gateway drug is a substance whose use may lead to the use of more dangerous and harmful substances, and there is some evidence to suggest that marijuana is a gateway drug.4

If you or someone you love has a drug or alcohol addiction, our Boston PHP may be able to help. Do not wait for the substance abuse to get worse in social isolation. Take action now. Call us today at 888-280-4763 to get started.


  1. b News - Marijuana businesses and advocates are pushing for ‘essential’ status in Mass. Here’s why.
  2. Politico - Cannabis finds its moment amid coronavirus outbreak
  3. Headset - https://www.headset.io/posts/headset-coronavirus-and-its-effects-on-cannabis-markets
  4. NIH - Is marijuana a gateway drug?
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.