The coronavirus pandemic is like nothing we’ve ever experienced. The virus has quite literally ground the globe to a halt, with most businesses shut down and people stuck indoors. The chances of kicking it in the foreseeable future are quite slim, and experts say life may not go back to normal when we eventually do.
Cannabis was lucky enough to be declared essential by most state governments that allow marijuana within their borders. Not only has this proved just how important the industry is to the millions of patients and the over 200,000 employees that rely on it, but it has shown that governments are willing to accept marijuana.
In fact, as soon as most lockdowns were announced, cannabis stores reported massive spikes in demand. According to Elliot Dobris, a spokesperson for the Apothecarium, a dispensary with three San Francisco locations, the day of shelter in place was the busiest day they’d ever had. “We’ve never had longer lines than that, including 4/20 and the first days of recreational sales in the state, ever. Stores were absolutely slammed.”
Pot stores have also reported another interesting development. They are recording higher edible sales than ever before, while flower and vape sales have gone down. Eaze, a California based marijuana delivery company has seen edible sales increase from 15% to 30%, while flower and vape sales have reduced from 25% to 17% and 33% to 25% respectively.
That is to be expected. The coronavirus attacks the respiratory system, and experts say smoking will compromise your lung health, thereby putting you at greater risk of developing severe symptoms if you do contract the virus. And as folks still need their cannabis, they have turned to ingesting it, which is arguably the safest way to use cannabis.
“Based on prior studies with other pulmonary infections, both bacterial and viral, it is highly likely that cigarette smoking and vaping will increase the risk of coronavirus pneumonia and increase its severity, though we don’t know to what extent,” says Dr. Michael Matthay, Associate Director of Critical Care Medicine at UCSF.
It is feasible that even after the outbreak dies down, people might stick to edibles. Long time marijuana users often transition to edibles to preserve their lung health, and as experts say we might be stuck with the virus for quite a while, it would make sense to continue using edibles.
Edibles do have a certain reputation, but that’s because most first-timers jump in without doing their research. As more of the THC in the cannabis is absorbed, edibles can be quite strong. This shelter in place time could give folks time to experiment and find out just what works for them, and it may shape their preferences in the future.
Analysts believe sector players like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF) are crunching the numbers on these trends in order to make their long-term plans appropriately.
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