Covid 19 has turned the world upside down. Virtually every country, industry and household was impacted by the Coronavirus. Unemployment numbers shot up in an instant as companies were forced to shut their doors. Many people were left sitting at home, uncertain about what was to come, relying on government aid to keep them afloat. Encouraged to stay indoors and social distance, it isn’t a far-fetched idea that cannabis consumers would ramp up consumption and previous non-users might give it a shot.
Previously all we could do was speculate about how Covid 19 affected cannabis consumption. Now that we’re many months into the pandemic, we can look to the data to give us some insight into how the Coronavirus impacted cannabis users and the industry as a whole.
Volume of Consumption
With so many people with so much time on their hands, combating boredom has become a priority. This has led to increased sales of gaming consoles, computers, streaming services and even pets! Another industry that has seen a boom in sales is the cannabis industry.
Cannabis Sales In Canada Prior to Covid 19
March 2019: $60 million
April 2019: $74 million
May 2019: $86 million
Cannabis Sales In Canada Post Covid 19
March 2020: $181 million
April 2020: $178 million
May 2020: $186 million
Cannabis Sales In Colorado Prior to Covid 19
March 2018: $135 million
April 2018: $124 million
May 2018: $122 million
March 2019: $142 million
April 2019: $135 million
May 2019: $143 million
Cannabis Sales In Colorado Post Covid 19
March 2020: $161 million
April 2020: $148 million
May 2020: $192 million
Colorado is an important metric because its legal cannabis market is more mature than Canada’s, making the data more meaningful. However it’s important to keep in mind other factors that can affect the data, such as: Colorado’s reliance on cannabis tourism. Travel bans and stay at home orders can have a significant impact on all tourism industries, including Colorado’s cannabis tourism.
On March 10th Colorado declared a state of emergency and many retail stores had either closed their doors or had capacity limits severely limited. On April 27th many retail stores could reopen and provide curbside pickup. This seems to be clearly shown in the data with cannabis sales rising by almost $50 million from April to May.
Tvape surveyed 360 people, of which ~54% reported an increase in their personal marijuana consumption since quarantine. With only ~5% reporting they consume less cannabis.
Another interesting statistic revealed by the survey was how people are consuming cannabis. Almost 20% more people report using a vaporizer as their preferred consumption method since quarantine. Many of whom say they made the switch for health reasons. Vaporizing cannabis is much easier on your lungs when compared to smoking cannabis, especially when the volume of consumption is high. Coupled with the fact that the Coronavirus targets the respiratory system so heavily, people are more aware of their respiratory health and want to maintain it.
Cannabis User’s Habits During Covid-19
As we just mentioned, many cannabis users are dialing back the amount they smoke and ramping up the amount they vaporize or use edibles during quarantine. While many people report this is due to health concerns, there’s another reason people are making the switch. For the folks who can manage to work from home, or still have a stable income, they’re saving a decent amount of money by not going out. It makes investing in your favorite at-home pastime much easier. Maybe spending a couple of hundred dollars on a vaporizer was a tough pill to swallow pre-covid, but being cooped up everyday combating boredom makes purchasing a vaporizer an easier sell.
Now that everyday is a Saturday, people are much more likely to start using cannabis earlier in the day. What was once an evening / weekend ritual has slowly worked its way into the early afternoon / weekday. Personally I would reserve my session for the night time as a way to wind down and relax. Since quarantine I’ve been mixing in some afternoon sessions more regularly, and it seems I’m not alone.
Another obvious change to the average cannabis user is the fact that we aren’t getting together for a session as often. What was once a social pastime has become more of a solo activity. Or if you are getting together with friends to enjoy a puff, if you’re respecting social distancing rules you’re probably keeping your joint / piece to yourself. Afterall if you’re concerned about a pandemic virus you shouldn’t be passing around a joint. Grab a lawn chair, sit 6+ feet apart (outdoors ideally) and roll up some personal sized joints or have everyone bring their favorite vaporizer. No more passing to the left, instead we can all bogart that joint, my friend!
It will be interesting to see how things settle once things start to return to normal. I would expect cannabis / vaporizer sales to fall back to pre-covid levels, but perhaps this shift is something that persists. I expect at least some level of social distancing and mask wearing to live on after the pandemic subsides, and maybe an increased demand for cannabis will stick around too.
How has the pandemic affected your cannabis habits? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section or on social media.