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Weed use has gone through the roof for Aussies since the pandemic started

24 August 2020 | 4:30 pm | Emma Jones

Turns out Aussies have been getting through the pandemic thanks to a lot of weed, a new report has found.

As Australians continue with the far reaching impacts of COVID-19 and consequent lockdowns and restrictions across the country, studies have shown cannabis use is well and truly on the rise for many, according to a new article published by Crikey. Coming in just behind alcohol as everyone's go-to for drugs of choice, both self-reported use and medicinal cannabis approval rates have seen sharp increases since April when lockdown measures really started to take hold nationwide.

Compared to the same period in 2019, medicinal cannabis applications have increased by 60% in July this year. Approvals for medicinal cannabis use also saw an increase of 39% between April and July 2020, coinciding with the period of widespread telehealth implementation. Supply chains for marijuana have also not been disrupted as much as other party drugs, so is increasingly available and cheaper compared to the likes of MDMA, cocaine and ketamine. This, combined with the fact that mental health issues have increased since the start of the pandemic and the fact that there's not exactly a lot of parties going on right now, means it looks like Aussies are getting by with the help of the special herb. One study even found 57% of those surveyed reported an increase in usage since March.

However, it seems people aren't just using weed as a means to help pass the time. In the Crikey article, addiction medicine specialist and Sydney University professor Nick Lintzeris said self-medication is also a reason. Citing a reduction in many things which help those suffering from chronic pain including "physiotherapy rehabilitation groups, exercise and acupuncture," Lintzeris said this could also have contributed to the spike in usage across the country.

This news comes after another recent report looked at prices soaring across the country for many party drugs including cocaine and MDMA, while earlier in the pandemic, reports emerged of drug dealers discussing the changes in their respective markets across the globe.

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Read the full article on Crikey here.

Words by Emma Jones

Image via Leafly