Why social distancing is increasing cannabis product sales

Published Mar 26, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / HighGradeRoots

Now that most people in the world are living under a state of emergency, businesses all around us are falling, as they’ve been forced to close up shop for the foreseeable future. Only stores that are deemed essential services are in operation, and we’re all wondering what’s going to happen to those who have had no choice but to forfeit their income for the good of all people.

There are, of course, a few companies that will make it out of this unscathed, and one of them might just be cannabis dispensaries. Social distancing is a tool that is used only in the direst situations, where isolation and quarantine are all we have to combat a contagious disease.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still incredibly new, so it’s likely to be several months yet before we come up with a vaccine or treatment that actually works, and in the meantime, we’ve all been asked to practice social distancing as much as possible. This has led to an abrupt change in buying habits, including a significant increase in consumers seeking products from dispensaries.

It might seem strange to think of stocking up on weed, especially if you’ve had the luxury of a steady supply without having to leave home, but it seems that most cannabis enthusiasts are adding buds, concentrates, and vape juice to their list of must-have essentials to enjoy during the time that they are quarantined.

Now, everyone has their reasons for toking or dappling in edibles, but during a time of social distancing, cannabis can quickly become a helpful tool, and today we want to explore some of the reasons why that is.

Reasons why cannabis sales are booming during social distancing

Most assume that they know what it means to be quarantined. It’s pretty simple, after all. You stay home, you relax, and you try your best to stay away from other people as much as physically possible. It all sounds well, especially if you’re someone who is used to working a lot. Who doesn’t want a vacation, right?

Well, unfortunately, the experience isn’t all sunshine and rainbows when it has to last for weeks or months on end, and things like paychecks stop coming in. Despite the serious financial implications of this endeavor, people everywhere are still running out to stock up on their favorite cannabis products, which has led to a significant increase in sales at dispensaries.

It’s become such a common trend that has distributers and producers looking at increasing the volume of product deliveries, but there are a few good reasons as to why this is, and we’re going to tell you about the most influential ones.

1. Boredom

Most full-time workers would love the opportunity to sit at home for an entire day or two, to binge-watch a show, or to finish a nearly forgotten project, but they might have a harder time finding something to do within the home by the time they are finished. Being stuck indoors to maintain social distancing is a reality for many people. That is especially true for those who reside in the city, where everything from public parks to walking trails is high traffic and well shared.

In this kind of situation, it really doesn’t take long for boredom to set in, and smoking a bit of weed is an excellent way to combat boredom, and to get inspired enough to find something else just as worthy of your time to do. It might not make everything better, but cannabis can certainly help consumers to pass the time while under quarantine, though if you’re sick, you might want a smoother option like edibles instead.


2. Habit

Most humans have some sort of habit, and for stoners, it’s likely smoking a whole bunch of pot during every moment that they have to just chill. Now, that’s easy to keep up to when you work all day, and only have a couple of hours in the evening to get high, but once you're in full lockdown and practicing social distancing measures, there is suddenly a bunch more time to just sit back and puff away. That means that consumers will need more to feed their habits, which partially explains the increase in cannabis sales.

3. Stress

It’s a terrifying reality to accept when a contagious virus spreads across nations, and to top things off, we have to worry about things like job security, food stability, and the health of ourselves and anyone else that we know. Overall, it’s a stressful ordeal, and with everything closed that people might normally use for some semblance of relief, it’s a build-up that calls for some serious relaxation that for many, only cannabis can provide.

4. Pain

We have not yet experienced any kind of medicine shortage due to the presence of COVID-19, but there are currently thousands of medicinal patients in Canada alone, which tells us that a tonne of people uses cannabis for some level of pain relief. Now, that might not come as much of a surprise, but you might be shocked to learn how many people have to rely on the benefits to get rid of regular aches and pains. This helps the consumer to stay active while being as comfortable as possible, which is why so many just can’t go without it.

Medicine, whether it’s prescribed by a doctor or not, is an essential good, and this belief is definitely a driving factor in why so many regions have declared dispensaries as a necessary service that must remain open as long as possible for the good of the public. It’s also a major reason to stock up while practicing social distancing because no one wants to be out of their pain medicine, especially if they’re ordered to isolation, where a lot of dealers can’t legally grow.

Panic buying is contagious, and just like with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other regular household goods like cleaners that have been cleared from store shelves, cannabis is not immune to this shift. Those who realize that they can't possibly go without their usual are ordering up to four times more than their usual amount. This is excellent for business, but it results in emptier shelves than usual.

5. Mood

Living in a state of emergency is bound to bring your mood down a couple of notches, which can leave you feeling agitated, tired, or more angry than usual, but did you know that you can buy a bit of happiness if you choose the right weed strains. Every person’s personal preference is slightly different, but once you find the right one, you can significantly boost your mood, which can make living much more enjoyable while being quarantined.

A stoners guide to social distancing


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