TORONTO: New data suggests half of cannabis users have increased their habit amid the pandemic, putting them at increased risk of addiction and other health problems.
It’s prompting experts at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to urge moderation among those who use, increased screening by clinicians and continued monitoring of cannabis use during and after the pandemic. Three online surveys involving three different groups of about 1,000 people revealed consistent increases last May and June.
Senior author Dr. Tara Elton-Marshall, a scientist with the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at CAMH, says the concern is that people may be developing new routines that will persist throughout the pandemic and beyond.
“A lot of people think that they’re not at risk if they use cannabis but if you are using more frequently then it can impact your health,” said Elton-Marshall, noting younger users are at greater risk of mental health concerns.
“Now’s the time to take a look at your cannabis use — whether or not that has changed in response to the pandemic — and would be the time to consider cutting back or not using cannabis.”
She pointed to stress, isolation, financial worries and boredom as likely factors in pushing some people to step up consumption.