The vast majority of cannabis consumers aren’t getting lifted right now to pass time or relieve boredom. They’re getting lit to keep sane during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by the California-based weed company Goldenseed, found that 73.7 percent of consumers were toking to tackle “stress and anxiety” caused by being locked indoors all day to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the respiratory infection COVID-19.
“It’s… interesting to see so many users turning to the anxiety-relieving properties of cannabis during this unprecedented and uncertain time where so many people’s lives have been seriously disrupted,” Goldenseed’s co-founder and CEO, Scott Goldie, said in a press release. “As these results indicate [that many people are] using cannabis not just socially, but for what they perceive to be emotional and stress relief benefits during these trying times.”
These results shouldn’t be surprising. Some analyses have shown that the majority of medical marijuana patients take cannabis to manage their moods and stress levels, although official state data says most patients sign up to control chronic pain.
Among the poll’s other findings: 40 percent of consumers said they were smoking even more weed during the pandemic than they did prior to the outbreak; 35 percent said they were worried that cannabis shortages could limit access in the near future; and 34 percent said they are frequent cannabis consumers.
The poll included a total of 1,277 respondents, and responses were collected from March 29 to March 30 among adults ages 21- to 65-years-old.
“These results reflect a number of customer trends we’ve been observing since the start of the coronavirus outbreak,” Goldie said. “Chief among these is the consumer concern around limited supplies of cannabis. These concerns are well-founded, as many areas are experiencing increasing demand for product, something we believe will positively impact the cannabis market near-term, and perhaps long-term.”
While California is seeing higher-than-average sales compared to the same weeks in the previous year, other states aren’t faring so well. Recent sales data from the weed analytics firm Headset found that Washington State and Colorado were experiencing severe marijuana sales slumps, even though both states saw massive spikes in sales two weeks ago — when people began hoarding weed at the beginning of state-ordered lockdowns.
Spikes in weed-buying, followed by a fall in sales, may be the new normal during the coronavirus pandemic. People are likely buying all their weed at once to avoid contact with the public, but other factors have also contributed to drops in sales. For example, Colorado’s economy depends on tourism to keep it afloat, but international travel bans, as well as the closures of hotels and ski resorts, is causing the Centennial State’s pot shops to lose a lot of money at the moment.
So, what’s the takeaway? It’s time we start recognizing that cannabis’s characteristic high holds just as much medicinal value as its abilities to soothe chronic pain, stop seizures, and fight cancer. In a nation where Big Pharma pushes antidepressants that only work for half the population, our government needs to recognize that weed’s heady properties should be lauded as a potential treatment, not as a mere vice.