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Nearly 40% of Americans Using Weed to Cope With Burnout, Survey Says

Smoking marijuana from a bong in bed

Well over one-third of Americans have used cannabis to cope with burnout and stress, which has only worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the findings of a recent survey. 

Compiled by the cannabis company Verilife, the survey “United States of Burnout” found that 37% of respondents have used CBD to cope with burnout, and 39% have used cannabis for the same purpose. This was especially true for millennials for who already use cannabis – 93% of whom reported that they have used it to help relieve the symptoms of burnout. 

And among those respondents who do not consume cannabis, 29% stated that they have considered using it to deal with stress and exhaustion. 

The survey used a definition of burnout that describes it as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”

The respondents cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the main cause of burnout, followed by work, finances, politics, and the news. Verilife also surmised in a document accompanying the survey results that “doom scrolling” and the 24/7 news cycle have only made things worse, with 67% of respondents saying that they experienced burnout as a result of watching, reading, or listening to the news. 

These findings are similar to those published by the Centers for Disease Control in August 2020, which stated that “during June 24–30, 2020, U.S. adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.”

The Verilife survey was carried out between October 5th and October 8th. It used the Amazon Mechanical Turk Survey platform to poll 2,024 Americans – of whom 47% were male and 53% were female. The median age of respondents was 38. 

This is by no means the first survey to look at the role of cannabis in treating stress, anxiety, or burnout during the pandemic. 

In November, SoapBoxSample published the results of a survey that found that 46% of all respondents said they have increased their cannabis consumption since the pandemic became a national crisis in the Spring of 2020. This includes during their regular work hours, which is obviously linked in no small part to the fact that so many people have been working from home this past year. 

A study published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases in 2020 found that 91% of people with mental health conditions reported increased use of medicinal cannabis since the start of the pandemic compared to those with no prior mental health issues. 

Research has shown that cannabis can be effective in treating anxiety, but it depends a lot on the individual. In addition, the biphasic effect of cannabis means that it can have radically different effects depending on the size of the dose. Those looking to treat anxiety with cannabis should start with a low dose first.

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