Why are cannabis sales skyrocketing during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The world has been shaken by the new strain of coronavirus called COVID-19. One suprising side effect, amid concerns over COVID-19, is that cannabis sales are skyrocketing. According to Marijuana Business Daily, daily sales in California spiked 159% on Monday over same-day sales in 2019.
Bloomberg reported similar optimism from the market as pot stocks across the board were lifted on news of a spike in sales.
“Our checks across North America were consistent: regardless of region, cannabis purchases have accelerated,” analyst Christopher Carey said in a note. “While likely on pantry loading, it’s not unreasonable to think there will be some boost to per capita consumption as people stay at home longer.”
The Coronavirus and Psychological Effects of Quarantine
Around the world people are stocking up on supplies for quarantining. In addition to necessities like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and food, people are facing at least 14 days stuck inside. Whether alone, with roommates, or family, living in confined conditions can be difficult to cope with.
A study of the psychological effects of quarantined Canadians was made during the SARS outbreak. Researchers found that acquaintance with, or direct exposure to someone with a diagnosis of SARS was associated with PTSD and depressive symptoms. Their paper "SARS Control and Psychological Effects of Quarantine, Toronto, Canada" elaborates: "Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression were observed in 28.9% and 31.2% of respondents, respectively. Longer durations of quarantine were associated with an increased prevalence of PTSD symptoms." It's no surprise that some people turn to cannabis for relief.
COVID-19 Statistics and Research
Our World in Data - illustrates the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in China (12 March 2020).
Cannabis for Coronavirus Quarantine
For some, cannabis is a vital medicine. Like other patients, medical cannabis patients are following advice to stock up on their prescriptions. For others, cannabis is a recreational escape that could make their isolation more bearable.
The Marijuana Business Daily article Adult-use cannabis retailers take stock of inventory, encourage online orders as sales surge during coronavirus pandemic talked to cannabis retailers such as Pepe Breton, co-owner and CEO of the Denver cannabis company Euflora:
“[Breton] said from Thursday to Sunday his sales were up 25% compared to this time in 2019. One store sold about $50,000 worth of cannabis in one day.”
Impacted Regions by Confirmed Cases
10,000+ Confirmed cases (darkest red)
1000–9999 Confirmed cases
100–999 Confirmed cases
10–99 Confirmed cases
1–9 Confirmed cases (lightest red)
Authors of File: BlankMap-World.svg / CC BY-SA with data derived from Johns Hopkins University CSSE, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York Times, CNBC (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0). Published 17 March 2020.
The Truth About Cannabis & CBD for Coronavirus
It is important to underline for CBD and cannabis users that these products cannot treat or cure COVID-19. Surprisingly however, cannabis extracts exhibit many promising antibacterial properties.
The paper Cannabis sativa L. and its antimicrobial properties– A review (2017) by Głodowska, M., and Łyszcz, M. notes that cannabis leaf extract is comparable to Celphalexin, a common antibiotic.
Additionally, the study Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure− activity study (2008) by Appendino, G., et al. finds that cannabis extracts have strong antibacterial activity against the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Cannabis and CBD will not alleviate symptoms of COVID-19 or prevent infection. However, cannabinoids may help support a healthy immune system, which is important in defending against all pathogens.
Optimism During Crisis
The COVID-19 crisis has forced a marked shift in the way we live our lives. Cannabis businesses are taking precautions to offer their products in a safe manner. Some locations are allowing curb-side pick up for cannabis, and many are leveraging online retail to supply demand in a safe and responsible way.
Despite the public health crisis, record breaking cannabis sales are offering a bit of optimism.
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