Journal Article


Shifts in cannabis use at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic among Global Drug Survey respondents from 13 countries

Abstract

Purpose. The COVID-19 pandemic likely impacted cannabis distribution, access and usage worldwide. This study aims to describe self-reported changes in cannabis use and related outcomes following COVID-19-related restrictions among an international sample of people who use drugs. Design/methodology/approach. Using data from the Global Drug Survey COVID-19 Special Edition, the authors identified 20,417 respondents from 13 countries who reported whether the number of THC-containing cannabis usage days changed compared with February 2020 (before COVID-19 restrictions). Using descriptive statistics and a multinomial multivariable logistic regression, the authors investigated the impact of changes in cannabis use on respondents’ mental health, physical health, relationships, finances, work/study performance and cannabis-related pleasure/enjoyment. Findings. Similar proportions of respondents reported that their cannabis use had stayed the same (38.2%) or increased (38.3%) compared with February 2020, while 21.9% of respondents reported a decrease. The most common reason for increased use was having more time (68.4%), while decreased use was associated with having less contact with people they use cannabis with (58.4%). The likelihood of reporting worse mental and physical health, finances, and work/study performance following COVID-19 restrictions was highest among those who reported increased cannabis use. Research limitations/implications. These findings provide a unique understanding of the short-term international impact of initial COVID-19 restrictions on cannabis use, and highlight the need for policy to address the ongoing and improved provision of evidence-based mental health and other support for people who frequently use cannabis. Originality/value. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the world’s largest international study exploring the impacts of these changes in cannabis use following initial COVID-19 restrictions on individuals’ mental health, physical health, relationships, finances, work/study performance and cannabis-related pleasure. This study is also unique in comparing these changes across multiple continents.

Attached files

Authors

Puljevic, Cheneal
Cossart, Amelia
Davies, Emma L.
Barratt, Monica
Maier, Larissa
Jauffret-Roustide, Marie
Winstsock, Adam
Ferris, Jason

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

Dates

Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-05-22


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


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