The coronavirus pandemic that’s killed more than 658,000 people in the United States and infected 41 million, upended economies and moved classes to bedrooms may have added another change for college students: less booze and more weed.
A newly released study found that nearly half of the country’s college-age students said they consumed marijuana last year, leading researchers to wonder whether the pandemic may have spurred the record in cannabis consumption. One says the trend underpins the changing practices during — and struggles to adapt to — the global health crisis.
“The pandemic seems to have actually made marijuana into an alternative to escape the monotony of isolation,” said Nora Volkow, director of the federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “It’s made life become more boring, more stressful. So if drugs let you experience that completely different mental state, I wonder whether that would be a factor that leads people to use them.”