A report published by the World Health Organisation (“WHO”) ascertained that the global lockdowns that were enforced upon the world by Coronavirus have increased the demand for cannabis in almost every one of the cannabis derived industries from the CBD market to the recreational cannabis markets in the US and Canada.
Lockdown policy has Increased the Demand for Cannabis
The 2020 World Drug Report published by the United Nations published in June 2020 concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled governments worldwide to implement social distancing and lockdown restrictions which has led to a rise in cannabis sales via the Dark Web.
The World Drug Report also found that restrictions enforced by Coronavirus especially in Europe are leading to an increase in demand for cannabis. The report cites a lack of access to street dealers by end users, as one of the primary reasons for the increase in the amount of cannabis being purchased via the Dark Web.
The report also affirms cannabis as being the world’s most popular substance, with approximately 192 million consumers across the globe. In countries that have legalised cannabis for recreational use, consumption has increased the use of cannabis and these countries are Canada, Uruguay and some states in the United States of America. However, legalisation may not be the sole cause of the increase of the consumption of cannabis, as there is a similar trend in countries that have legalised medical cannabis. Cannabis is ranked by the report as the most commonly used drug ahead of opioids, which were consumed by 58 million people in the year 2018.
The report did find that cannabis is the substance that brings the most people into contact with the criminal justice system. This is an illustration of how the legalisation or decriminalisation of cannabis would lead to fewer people being branded as criminals or having a record that they have to live with for many years to come, which results in missing out on job opportunities and has negative connotations in their personal life too.
UK CBD Sales Rise During Lockdown
Throughout 2020 thus far, over 8 million adults in the United Kingdom have purchased CBD products. As people seek immunity boosters and natural remedies to ensure their body is in the best shape to fight any infection, there have been more people keen to try CBD to see if it works for their needs. CBD sales in the UK for 2020 are already in excess of £150m.
The stress that the pandemic is causing in every aspect of people’s lives is leading people to try CBD to deal with stress. With employment being uncertain due to many businesses being in trouble, money worries are at the forefront of many people’s minds.
The anxiety caused by the fear of the virus has left many on edge and people may have trouble sleeping. CBD has the capacity to help people deal with trouble sleeping or who are feeling particularly anxious due to the crazy state of the world.
This has led to an increase in the purchases of CBD products. The UK CBD market is estimated to grow by 50% throughout 2020 from £300m in 2019 to £450m. The Centre for Medical Cannabis published their findings from their market sizing research which valued the UK CBD market at £300m, with a promising forecast for 2020. The CBD industry is anticipated to grow at a faster rate than sectors such as P2P lending and new social media platforms.
The significant growth in the UK CBD market in the first half of the year can partly be attributed to the outbreak of Coronavirus. The drastic regulations imposed by the UK government have caused elevated levels of anxiety, depression and stress throughout society. As the pandemic ceases to end the cases of depression and loneliness will get more severe which could lead to drug and alcohol abuse. The number of people contacting the Samaritans and other charities with suicidal thoughts has risen as has the number of suicide attempts since lockdown.
The rise in sales of CBD is welcomed by brands and online retailers but they have obviously come at a cost that no one would have wished to pay. It also means that brands have a bigger responsibility to ensure all products are produced using good manufacturing practices (GMP) and also making sure that all products are labelled correctly so the consumer is fully aware of the product contains. With the incoming Novel Food legislation, shortly consumers will be assured peace of mind that the product they are purchasing is safe and does not contain any ingredients that are not listed. This will provide the consumer with more confidence to purchase CBD and will mean that the brands that remain on the market will be reputable and consumers can trust these brands to provide high quality, safe and effective CBD products, ranging from CBD oils to transdermal CBD patches to CBD creams and balms.
Educating consumers about the difference between CBD & THC and what is legal and what is illegal is vital to build trust between CBD Brands and their consumers. The current landscape of Cannabis legislation can be extremely confusing even to those involved in the industry. This leaves many people sceptical about the legality of CBD and whether it is ok for them to take CBD. Reports in several national newspapers about CBD products containing THC or less CBD than stated on the label and even in one case an oil did not even contain CBD, have left consumers concerned about purchasing CBD and whether it is worth the risk.
Once all CBD products on the market are Novel Food approved it will allow consumers to make CBD purchases with greater confidence, which will result in the market growing and a higher percentage of the population using CBD regularly.
Cannabis use across all methods of consumption is rising and is likely to continue to increase over the coming years. As laws change to become more accommodating of cannabis and it is gradually decriminalised, the use of cannabis will become more socially accepted and will no longer be viewed with criminal connotations, it is inevitable that more people will try cannabis for the first time and that people who currently use it will be more honest about their consumption.
The world has dramatically changed over the last few months. One result of this is that bars and nightclubs have been shut and going forward it is unlikely they will ever return to their former glory. This may mean that Cannabis gradually becomes a more common substance of choice as the use of alcohol declines. With no parties to go to, generations of all ages may begin to slow their consumption of alcohol. Consuming cannabis with friends may become the new normal for social get togethers.
More than ever it is impossible to predict what will happen over the coming years but stating that cannabis use in all forms is destined to rise across the world over the next few years seems like a statement that will age well.