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Pandemic Perspectives: A More Relaxed View Toward Marijuana

Due to the months spent mostly indoors, many are able to relate to new habits brought on by loneliness or stress. For some, it has been eating more or drinking more alcohol, and others have begun trying out substances such as marijuana. Although many activities were limited during lockdowns, some states such as California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, New Jersey and New York deemed cannabis dispensaries an essential service. Being stuck inside has also resulted in many celebrities sharing their substance use during the pandemic: as a virtual guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in April 2020, Seth Rogen declared he was smoking cannabis and doing pottery to get through lockdown days., a provider of addiction recovery resources and information, conducted a poll of 3,000 respondents and found that one in five (20 percent) Californians say they now have a more relaxed view toward recreational marijuana use after experiencing a year of lockdowns (compared to a national average of 20 percent).

The survey also found that almost half (49 percent) of respondents say that following the stress caused by the pandemic, they empathize more with those who turn to substances, such as cannabis, for relief.

With boredom, stress and anxiety levels high, many may be tempted to turn to alcohol or other substances as a coping mechanism during the pandemic. Moreover, the survey found that 38 percent of respondents believe more people will be influenced to try substances (such as alcohol or cannabis) if famous people are open about their usage on social media platforms like Instagram stories and livestreams.

However, 48 percent also believe that celebrities being open about their substance use on their personal social media accounts is a good way to educate people about substance awareness. Social media has the ability to influence people on a mass scale, which is why it is also crucial to discuss the dangers of substance use when it comes to celebrities who have struggled with addiction. When these individuals are open about their experiences, it may inspire others who struggle with dependency to reach out and seek help. Singer Demi Lovato is well-known for being open about her substance addiction, which continued for a prolonged period of time before she sought help.