(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

As Canadians struggled with the isolation and “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many turned to substances like alcohol and cannabis to help them cope.

According to a new survey from Statistics Canada released Thursday (March 4), 16 per cent of people reported using cannabis in the past 30 days. The survey, which was carried out from Jan. 25-31, found that 34 per cent of prior users increased their cannabis use during the pandemic. The main reasons for the increase were stress at 65 per cent, boredom at 58 per cent and loneliness at 39 per cent.

Of the people who had used cannabis previously, 25 per cent decreased their usage and 54 per cent consumed the same amount.

Researchers also looked at alcohol consumption. Of the people surveyed, 66 per cent said they consumed alcohol at least once in the past 30 days.

Researchers found that 54 per cent of people who previously consumed alcohol consumed the same amount during the pandemic, while 24 per cent said they had more and 22 said they had less.

For people who increased how much alcohol they consumed, the reasons were similar to those provided by people who increased the amount of cannabis they consumed.

Researchers found that the people most likely to increase how much alcohol they consumed if they were more stressed out. Forty-one per cent of responded who described the pandemic as “very stressful” or “extremely stressful” saw their alcohol consumption increase, compared to 16 per cent of people who found the pandemic “a little stressful” and “not at all stressful.”

Isolation also increased drinking; 33 per cent of those who felt isolated during the pandemic increased their drinking, compared to 12 per cent of those who did not.

READ MORE: Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

cannabisCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The seventh annual Interior Savings Unplug and Play Family Literacy Week is scheduled for April 18 to 24. (File photo)
Annual Unplug and Play Week scheduled for April 18 to 24

Activities include making craft bags, neighbourhood hidden gems bingo, a scavenger hunt and more

A West Kelowna home was damaged in a fire that occurred overnight on Saturday, April 17. (Photo courtesy of West Kelowna Fire Rescue)
West Kelowna home damaged in overnight fire

The cause of the fire is undetermined and has been deemed unsuspicious

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Serving alcohol has been altered in the Central Okanagan Public Schools policy regarding rental of school facilities for after-school hours events. (Contributed)
Alcohol option opened up at Central Okanagan school facilities rented for events

Central Okanagan Board of Education retains final approval for after-hours event approvals

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

Thw male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Valen a student of Coldstream Elementary writes advice for adults amid a pandemic.
‘We can get rid of COVID together’: B.C. kids share heartwarming advice

Elementary students share their wisdom to adults in unprecedented times

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. health minister says delay in Moderna vaccine ‘disappointing’

‘The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame,’ Adrian Dix said Friday

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Most Read