Cannabis and Coronavirus: What’s the Future of Pot?

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marijuana and coronavirus
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During the stay-at-home order, Americans have been eating more junk food, drinking more alcohol, playing more video games, and smoking more pot. The rise in these activities is probably due to a feeling of comfort and an increase in free time, however smoking bud also has the added benefit of reducing coronavirus induced anxiety and stress. But long gone are the days of hanging out with large groups of friends and sharing joints and pipes. Beyond the changes in the social use of pot, let’s find out how the pandemic affected the marijuana industry and what the future holds.

How has the marijuana industry changed during COVID-19?

  • Marijuana delivery services are here to stay - Drive-thru, curbside pickup, cannabis delivery, and online ordering have become a necessity for smokers during the stay-at-home order. These options are much more convenient and limit human interaction, reducing the number of trips needed to retail locations. Most dispensaries were able to quickly switch over to this business model, which looks like it will continue to be a popular option well after the pandemic. It’s not just ganja that can be delivered to your home, smoking accessories like glass bongs, pipes, rolling papers, and vapes can easily be purchased online too. Check out the Everything for 420 online headshop for all your smoking needs.
  • Increase in business closures - During the global pandemic marijuana was deemed an essential business, however many marijuana retail locations have closed up shop for good. The pandemic has disproportionately affected small businesses and startups that didn’t have reserves on hand to weather the storm. As other businesses were receiving government relief to cover payroll costs and rent for a retail space void of customers, the marijuana industry didn’t have access to federal funds, so dispensaries and other cannabis businesses were left to fend for themselves. Right now, it’s about surviving, so if you have a local dispensary or small business that you love, now is the time to support them!
  • Say goodbye to cannabis events (for a while) - With the cancellation of Burning Man, EDC, and possibly Coachella (currently rescheduled for October), it comes at no surprise that most cannabis events were also called off for the foreseeable future. The cannabis community is an extremely social bunch, with trade shows, cultivation events, marijuana holidays, and festivals honoring the green goddess held throughout the year. While some events were completely canceled, others moved the celebrations online. So far, 2020 saw virtual 420 events and even Michigan's popular Hash Bash festival go virtual.
  • Supply chain issues - Have you noticed your favorite vape cartridge becoming harder and harder to find? That’s because just like other industries, cannabis has also seen its fair share of interruption in the supply chain. Mail carriers are taking longer than usual, international manufacturers have slowed production on products and packaging, and domestic cultivators are held back by new COVID-19 regulations.

Business closed from COVID-19

What’s the future of pot?

In the coming months, stoners may have less disposable income to spend on marijuana, deciding to either consume less or turn to more affordable black market pot. Consumers are spending less in general and recreational pot has also felt the impact, but the marijuana sector didn’t crash nearly as bad as the tourism, dining, and retail clothing industries. This leaves the door open for affordable brands and cultivators to thrive. No access to federal funds is also a big setback for the marijuana industry meaning there will be more small businesses that have to close down, particularly in areas that rely on cannabis tourism like Las Vegas. It seems like it will be a continuous uphill battle for a while. However, once the economy opens back up, travel resumes, and more people go back to work, it is likely that sales will increase and the industry will recover the small decline. New research related to cannabis and coronavirus could also help boost the industry and possibly even convince legislatures to legitimize cannabis on a wider scale.

New research on cannabis treatment for coronavirus

You may have seen the news headlines that claim cannabis is the miracle treatment we’ve been searching for, while this may not be true, there is a glimmer of hope. With coronavirus cases surpassing 9.6 million worldwide as of June 25th, we are in desperate need of a vaccine or preventative treatment to stabilize infections and reopen the global economy. As cannabis is known to provide a variety of medicinal properties, scientific researchers from Canada, the U.K., and other countries are investigating how the plant affects the coronavirus in humans. One highly publicized study from the University of Lethbridge in Canada found that a few cannabis strains that are high in CBD and low in THC could potentially help patients who contract the severe version of COVID-19. Cannabidiol was found to block protein pathways that help the virus spread, giving patients a better chance at survival and possibly lowering infection rates by up to 70%. Take this information with a grain of salt, because this study is still being peer-reviewed and additional research to back up these claims are necessary. However, if cannabis treatment for COVID-19 were to be found successful, that would mean a huge surge in the production of hemp derived CBD and a boom for the medical marijuana industry. 

Are people smoking more pot during COVID-19?

During the initial stages of the pandemic, many people believed that dispensaries would be forced to close just like barber shops, movie theaters, and their go-to Italian restaurant. However most legal states soon announced that marijuana would be included as an essential business just like grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and hospitals. But that didn’t stop stoners and medical patients from getting scared of being stuck in quarantine without a stash of bud. As smokers stocked up, one dispensary in Denver saw a 392% increase in sales compared to a typical day before the pandemic. This spike in marijuana sales has already tapered off after the hoarding fever subsided and may even see a decline in the coming months. It’s possible that since more people continue to file for unemployment, they are only able to spend money on basic needs and essentials like food and rent and marijuana sales will continue to slow.

If you’re in need of smoking products like vapes, dab rigs, or bongs, but don’t want to risk visiting a smoke shop, check out our online headshop to get smoking accessories shipped discreetly right to your doorstep.

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