Weed use up in communities with higher mental health risks at start of COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic may have led to increased legal cannabis use in communities at risk for mental health issues, suggests a review of anonymized location data in the U.S. Nathaniel Ashby, Ph.D., a researcher at the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, considered location data from the devices of visitors to 3,335 cannabis retail locations — both medical and recreational — for each day running from Dec. 1, 2019 through Apr. 30, 2020. As the pandemic began, communities reporting a greater average number of mentally unhealthy days (aMUDs) showed more visits to cannabis retailers, Ashby notes in the study , published online in the Journal of Addictive Diseases . Respondents were asked to think about their mental health — including stress, depression and problems with emotion — and how many days during the past 30 was their mental health not good. Germany imported a record amount of medical cannabis in 2020, but its relationship with exporters is shifting A quarter of polled Canadians turned to cannabis last year during the pandemic Study: Cannabis use increases throughout the calendar year, peaks in final months The anonymized location data “provided a count of the number of visitors” to the retail locations. Those visitor counts were then merged with the average number of aMUDs reported in the Federal Information Processing Standard county where the retailer was located, the county population and poverty rate estimates, the study notes. The results are of concern, since the negative influence of the ongoing pandemic could lead individuals at increased risk for mental health issues “to use substances to cope with stressors,” Ashby suggests. “The steps taken to preserve general societal health (e.g., social distancing and stay at home orders) are potentially having a disproportionate negative impact on at-risk populations that may be felt long after the threat of…

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Source : Weed use up in communities with higher mental health risks at start of COVID-19

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