Beyond the Quarantine Effect: The Multiple Dimensions of Cannabis in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from new contributing editor Nick Johnson. Johnson is a historian and editor based in Fort Collins, Colorado. His book Grass Roots: A History of Cannabis in the American West (2017) is a history of cannabis agriculture that explores the environmental and social dynamics of the nation’s most controversial crop. He also blogs (and occasionally podcasts!) about all things cannabis on his website, Hempirical Evidence.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, millions of people already used cannabis drugs to help relieve depression, anxiety, and boredom. It should be no surprise, then, that cannabis sales are exploding during a pandemic that has forced us all to stay home, stay away from each other, and, if we’re being honest, stay anxious about an uncertain future. But as with most stories about the cannabis plant, there’s more to it than that. Just as it has helped people cope with the realities of COVID-19, cannabis might actually be useful in fighting the disease itself, and trends during the pandemic are working against the black market that has been a bogeyman for the politics of legalization.

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