AskGrowers Weighs in: Cannabis & COVID-19 by the Numbers

The following guest post was submitted by Tia Moskalenko, Outreach Specialist at AskGrowers.

I’m Tia from AskGrowers, I’d like to enlighten you about the recent stats and facts on COVID-19 and cannabis consumption.

The current stats on COVID-19 are horrific. No one ever expected the outbreak to come this far. By the time of writing this article, over 16.3 million cases have been confirmed on a global level.

We’ve gotten used to using cannabis for a variety of conditions by now. For those of us passionate about plant-based medicine, the following question comes to mind — could it assist in coronavirus treatment?

CBD research gives us some hope. We believe that was one of the reasons retail sales of marijuana increased due to the virus outbreak, but there are others too.

Let’s discuss the facts. 

Has The Consumption of Cannabis Changed Due to COVID-19?

One of the main reasons consumption of cannabis has increased is stress! People from all around the world have spent serious periods of time in lockdown. The situation didn’t leave anyone immune to worrying and boredom.

The World Health Organization has acknowledged the fact that our new reality affects our mental and physical health in a negative way.

People are forced to work from home, but many of them depend on the office environment for productivity. They lack physical contact with colleagues, friends and family. They have to commit to home-schooling for their children. Many were left jobless. All these factors lead to mental and emotional distress.

Various strains of cannabis have been known to help combat anxiety, stress, and depression. It’s only natural for experienced cannabis users to turn to it. However, the significant changes to our daily lives have attracted new users to experiment with mild strains as well.

We have to warn against the excessive use of recreational marijuana with high levels of THC. Along with alcohol, high-risk cannabis use can weaken the user’s immune system. The Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction has warned that this can make the users more susceptible to COVID-19.

Canadian Center on Substance Use and Add

That being said, medical use of CBD-dominant products may do more well than harm (when used in moderation). Current research shows those strains are optimal for combating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and overwhelming stress. However, the dosage is crucial. Research shows two puffs of a CBD-dominant strain are enough to reduce anxiety symptoms. For excessive stress, 10 or more puffs give the best effects.

The important thing to remember? More THC isn’t necessarily better.

In the medical journal Preprints, Canadian researchers published an article discussing the potential of cannabis for assistance in the treatment of COVID-19. The body’s ACE2 receptors are doorways for the virus into the human body. Cannabidiol, an anti-inflammatory ingredient extracted from Cannabis Sativa, could modulate the ACE2 gene expression.

Further, CBD has the potential to treat lung inflammation caused by the virus. The plant’s anti-inflammatory properties are responsible for that. Since the media started publishing the results of these research studies, the sales and use of CBD-based products skyrocketed.

The Stats and Facts: The Connection Between The COVID-19 Outbreak and Cannabis Use

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the USA, sales of cannabis surged in California, Colorado, and Washington State.

According to information published by Statista, the sales of recreational marijuana in California on March 16, 2020 were 159% increased when compared to the sales on the same day in 2019. In Washington State and Colorado, the increase was by 100% and 46%, respectively.

It’s easy to explain this surge with the fact people were stocking up on products during that time. They didn’t know if cannabis dispensaries would stay open. Even when many U.S. states deemed dispensaries an essential business, the users bought larger quantities because they weren’t able to visit the dispensaries as often as they used to.

By generation, Millennials were most likely to increase their cannabis consumption during the COVID-19 outbreak. 40% of the Millennials respondents said that they planned to start using more cannabis to cope with stress.  

You might be wondering: how did this affect the cannabis industry?

Starting January 2020, cannabis stocks showed notable losses. Since March 19, they have bounced back. The cannabis industry is quite liable to changes in circumstances. That’s why the stocks reacted in such a flexible manner. The predictions by investors weren’t optimistic due to the economic slowdown and restricted movement -- losses in revenue were expected. That might be true. A recession is on its way and the future is uncertain for all industries. However, the current data shows that cannabis consumption has increased during these difficult times.  

Cannabis Is Still A Good Thing

Instead of focusing on the cause of coronavirus, we should all strive towards solutions. CBD-based products are great for relieving anxiety, but they can also help us combat COVID-19 by boosting our immunity.

As for the recreational use of THC-based strains, we have to be careful. Boredom and lack of socialization can lead to excessive use and addiction, which we need to prevent.

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