Cannabis use and aquisition in pandemic times – results from a sample of regular users in Germany
In the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, diverse claims were made regarding the effects of the restrictions for cannabis markets and consumption. We wanted to evaluate such possible effects for people who use cannabis regularly.
Two online surveys were set up for German-speaking people who use cannabis. The surveys were promoted via social media, cannabis activists etc. After we reached 1146 respondents in the first survey, running in spring 2020, the second survey in late 2020 and early 2021 was answered by 3455 persons. Results presented here include descriptive statistics as well as group comparison tests (Chi²) and analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Both surveys mainly reached persons who regularly use cannabis, with more than 80% at least weekly and around 40% daily users, respectively. Among these persons, we detected a tendency towards an increase in use during the pandemic. Reasons for using more cannabis ranged from rather positive to clearly negative motives. While around 40% claimed that cannabis acquisition has become more difficult, most of these persons could cope with that mainly by stockpiling and looking for additional sources; only few turned to online sellers. We detected no significant regional differences regarding cannabis availability.
The reported increase in use applies to a sample of mainly frequent cannabis users – there is evidence that persons who use occasionally were less likely to use the drug due to fewer occasions during the pandemic. Increases in use should not be generally regarded as ‘problematic’, as a considerable part of the respondents gave a rather positive assessment to their patterns of use as a means to cope with the inconveniences of the pandemic. With regard to availability, it should be noted that even in times of closed borders, prohibition could not significantly affect the supply, let alone the use of the drug.