Cannabis, booze, and coping with life during lockdown

While some are trying to drown their pandemic woes, others are turning to cannabis to help them cope

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If the world has learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that alcohol can be very useful. In fact, the demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizers has been so great that many breweries and distillers have turned over part of their business to manufacturing the stuff.

As far as consuming alcohol goes, however, it’s a different story. You may feel tempted to add an extra glass of wine to your virtual happy hour, or to shake up one more batch of “quarantinis” to take the edge off after a long day of working from home and reading one too many depressing headline.

The World Health Organization recommends against the use of alcohol as a coping method, and in April the WHO issued a factsheet on the topic. It reads, in part:

You might think that alcohol helps you to cope with stress, but it is not in fact a good coping mechanism, as it is known to increase the symptoms of panic and anxiety disorders, depression and other mental disorders, and the risk of family and domestic violence.

Instead of consuming alcohol to pass your time at home, try an indoor workout. Physical activity strengthens the immune system and overall – from both a short-term and a long-term perspective – is a highly beneficial way of spending a period of quarantine.

The WHO also addresses a number of erroneous notions about COVID-19, including the idea that consuming alcohol will kill the virus. “Consuming alcohol will not destroy the virus, and its consumption is likely to increase the health risks if a person becomes infected with the virus,” according to the factsheet. “Alcohol (at a concentration of at least 60% by volume) works as a disinfectant on your skin, but it has no such effect within your system when ingested.”

WHO infographic.

While some are trying to drown their pandemic woes, others are turning to cannabis to help them cope. Only time will tell what impact the crisis will have on the industry as a whole—in many markets, sales soared in March as people stocked up, then tapered off in April—but one U.S. survey suggests that there’s at least one segment of the population where demand has increased.

According to Oasis Intelligence (a cannabis-industry consumer-insight firm), which ran a national survey from March 30 through April 16, parents—especially mothers—stuck at home with their kids are consuming more cannabis. The results showed that a higher percentage of parents (14 percent) have consumed cannabis compared to those without kids at home (8 percent). Among parents surveyed, 16 percent of moms had consumed cannabis, compared to 11 percent of dads.

According to an Oasis Intelligence news release: “While millions of lives have been upended by the pandemic, changes in day-to-day life have been particularly dramatic for parents suddenly thrust into the role of both caregiver and educator while balancing work and other demands, and attempts to cope with this increased workload appear to be showing up in cannabis consumption rates.”

How are you dealing with life during the pandemic? Has your consumption of alcohol or cannabis increased over the past couple of months? What helps? What doesn’t? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

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