It started innocently enough, with a generous pour of zinfandel over dinner or a refill of sauvignon blanc while bingeing a true crime series after work. But as the weeks of staying at home turned into months (and one glass of wine turned into two or three), I started questioning my relationship with alcohol. I know I’m not alone, either — a study found that alcohol consumption increased by 14 percent from 2019 to 2020. The uncertainty around the pandemic has triggered stress and anxiety for many people, but it probably goes without saying that booze isn’t the healthiest way to cope.
Fortunately, I found that cannabis drinks were helpful in weaning myself off alcohol. Unlike most of the CBD drinks currently on the market, this new generation of beverages contains THC, so they lend a delightfully subtle buzz comparable to a glass of wine — with no hangover the next day. And, while excessive drinking has been linked to depression and anxiety (among other serious health issues), cannabis can actually have the opposite effect. Research has shown that cannabis may help to treat anxiety and improve sleep. That may explain why a 2020 Harris Poll found that 45 percent of adults have reduced or replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis, and observed more genuine social connectedness and better overall health as a result of making the switch.
I can speak to these perks from experience: in the interest of cutting back on my drinking at the end of 2020, I tried replacing my nightly glass of wine with Cann, a carbonated “social tonic” with microdoses of cannabis. A week into my experiment, I already noticed that I was feeling calmer after my cannabis nightcap, sleeping more soundly, and waking up more refreshed. The buzz only took about 10 to