While COVID-19 increased our reliance on mobile delivery apps and eCommerce services, Canadians saw an increase in pandemic substance use, especially for weed and alcohol. 

In a recent study released on November 4, 2021, by the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research (PBCAR), researchers discovered that since March 2020, monthly sales for alcohol rose by an average of 5.5% while weed sales saw an even steeper increase of 25%! 

These findings make it clear that, above all else, Canadians loved rolling one up and burning one down to cope with the massive changes that COVID19 brought to the world. 

Using information from Statistics Canada, the researchers compared 16 months of alcohol and weed sales both before and after the began – the 16 months before March 2020 through June 2021 – to be precise. 

During this period, they discovered that Canadians bought $1.86 billion more in alcohol than before the pandemic. At the same time, cannabis sales saw an $811 million higher increase than forecasts originally predicted. 

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When lockdown and quarantine measures were originally introduced in March 2020, alcohol and weed sales increased by a 15% margin.

James MacKillop, director of the PBCAR and co-author of the research, said that “these results offer one of the first national perspectives on changes in alcohol and cannabis use during the pandemic,”

“These sales data give us an opportunity to quantify the pandemic’s impacts on two of the most commonly used substances for the country as a whole,” he said. “These sales figures [also] give us clues into potential changes in behavioural patterns and can inform planning to address mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

While Canadians were stockpiling toilet paper, canned food, and other household essentials, they were also stocking up on their favourite strains and spirits, too.  

And while alcohol sales returned to more usual levels after March 2020, they remained higher than usual compared to pre-pandemic amounts. Weed sales, on the other hand, continued to increase dramatically over the following 16 months! 

In addition to outlining pandemic substance use, these results show the strong support that Canadians have towards Mary Jane as well as the changing, positive attitude towards weed that seems to be persisting. 

What are your thoughts? Have you been smoking more of your favourite strains during the lockdown period or have you been cracking open more cold ones? Let us know in the comments!

Herb Approach News is the media division of the cannabis health company Herb Approach. Through this medium, we are determined in providing insight on everything cannabis related, from news to commentary, from tips to guides on practical consumption, a whole lot more. Have a question? Email us at [email protected].