By LeeWEpstein

May 22, 2020


In order to cope with the stress of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and containment, 10% of Americans have turned to cannabis to “take care of themselves”, using it at least once since 13 March, the day the pandemic was officially declared a national emergency. One category seems to stand out: parents, especially mothers.

Parents have used more cannabis

But while this increase in consumption is generally true across all demographics, one group, in particular, stands out. Not only did a higher percentage of parents use cannabis in the past month compared to non-parents, but mothers turned to cannabis at almost twice the rate of other groups. And given the disproportionate influence of mothers on household decisions, this increase is another sign that the widespread adoption of cannabis by the American mainstream is close at hand.

A survey of the US population and cannabis

These results come from the new national survey that took place from 30 March to 16 April to better understand the impact of the pandemic on the cannabis landscape. Composed of a representative sample of the U.S. population, including roughly equal numbers of women and men, and aged 18 to 65 and older, the survey sought to uncover people’s attitudes during and about the pandemic by asking questions about self-rated mental and physical health, cannabis use, purchasing behaviors and more. This survey provided a wealth of information, but the increase in parental use immediately jumped out at us.

Mothers more likely to use cannabis during confinement

Cannabis use is particularly high among parents: while millions of lives have been disrupted by the pandemic, the changes in everyday life have been particularly dramatic for parents who suddenly found themselves in the role of caregiver and educator while balancing work and other demands, and trying to cope with this increased workload seem to be reflected in cannabis use rates.

  • A higher percentage of parents (14%) used cannabis compared to those without children at home (8%).
  • Among parents, 16% of mothers had used cannabis compared to 11% of fathers.
  • This means that mothers use cannabis (16%) at twice the rate of non-parents (8%).
  • Men without children had the lowest usage rate of all groups, at 7%.

Logical behavior

This is a distinct change from pre-existing trends where use was generally higher among men than women. From  Oasis Intelligence Tracking 2019 study, we know that anxiety/stress relief is the most common medical/wellness reason (40%) for which people use cannabis, followed by treatment of sleep problems (30%) and relief of depression (28%).

It is therefore logical that in times of unprecedented global uncertainty, the population as a whole is turning to cannabis and that an increase in use is particularly pronounced for parents under extraordinary stress and strain.

Cannabis users have changed through containment

Working from home is great,” one mom said. I do my job and I’m home to take care of things like my son and my pets when I take breaks and have lunch. I want to continue working from home.

This information should be revealed both to the general population and to cannabis societies that do not consider parents and mothers as the main cannabis consumers. We hope we have moved beyond the time when we considered cannabis users to be lazy dropouts, but this parental shift to cannabis for wellness benefits is a strong signal that cannabis actively removes all stigma and quickly integrates into normal American life.

Indeed, parents as the main demographic population for cannabis were probably still on the rise, but the unique demands of the pandemic have accelerated their entry into the market. While this particular increase in the number of new users may be more directly related to orders for on-site shelters, the effects on the cannabis industry will be long-lasting and the lessons learned can inform the approach of any company to potential consumers for years to come.

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