10 Amazing things we discovered about cannabis in 2020

Published Jan 21, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / ViktoriiaNovokhatska

We’re all so glad that 2020 is behind us. After dealing with murder hornets, COVID-19, sometimes violent protests, global disasters, devastating floods, two plane crashes, and an incredibly painful election, it’s time to move on to what we hope will be better, brighter days ahead. The economy has tanked, people are getting restless, and this whole last year has seemed like little more than a huge waste of our precious time, but we did progress, even if you were a little bit too distracted to notice.

The cannabis industry got off lucky, as it managed to make it out of this mess slightly better off than it was when this whole thing came down, but that’s not the only good thing to come out of this dreadful year. In 2020, through both experience and research, we learned some pretty interesting things about cannabis that will change the future for green business owners, medical professionals, and consumers, and to better explain what’s happened, we’re going to cover the top ten influential achievements here.

1. CBD may help us to achieve longevity

The rich and powerful have long sought a solution that could provide longevity, to bring them far beyond any age that human beings are naturally designed to exist, and until recently, most theories and beliefs have been based on folklore, with supposedly mythical objects and places like the fountain of youth causing quite a stir. However, in 2020, a group of scientists discovered that CBD worked to increase the longevity of worms by a staggering 20%, and though these results have yet to be replicated in humans, it’s one of the most promising leads we’ve had to extend life in decades.

2. The discovery of a cannabinoid 30 times stronger than THC

All the way back in January of 2020, a time that many of us now struggle to remember, cannabis research took a giant leap forward with the discovery of a brand new cannabinoid called THCP. This unique, new element is capable of working with THC to bind to the CB1 receptors, which is believed to be part of why it can cause such intense effects. Though one full year later, we still don’t know much else about the elements, it’s something that is guaranteed to hit the market en mass once the experts figure out more about what they’re dealing with and how it impacts consumers.

3. Some teens might avoid addiction to hard drugs with it

Normally kids and cannabis are a combination that few would ever condone, especially now that we know so much about the potential adverse effects of doing so on a developing brain, but as we’ve found out, some can benefit from it under the right circumstances. That could be when they have a medical condition like epilepsy with symptoms that can be controlled with cannabinoids, or in this case, it could be a safer alternative than harder, more dangerous drugs like opioids. One group of experts found that teens who used cannabis were far less likely to take more addictive substances, and that’s amazing.

4. CBD does not impact driving

We’ve done a fair amount of research on THC and its effects in various settings and situations, for instance, while driving or gaming, but CBD didn’t become trendy until the beginning of 2020, so we haven't been entirely sure of its role or potential. A sudden high demand for CBD products forced health agencies to look into its potential to impair consumers despite its well known non-psychoactive effects, but now it has been officially confirmed. This is great news for those who take it right before driving, and it will help to shape legislation and testing measures taken on the roads as we move forward.

5. The effects of cannabis on driving don’t last long

One of the biggest fears at the beginning with legalization was that it might put more dangerous drivers on the road. After surveys showing a high number of cannabis consumers admitting to getting behind the wheel right after using marijuana plant products, the experts wanted to find out how long they should recommend people wait after smoking before driving. This led to the results of a historical cannabis research study, which confirmed that the effects of cannabis last on average 30 minutes at most after inhalation, relieving the fears of many who once believed the danger would be comparable to alcohol.

6. What the legal market is doing wrong

If you ask anyone in the cannabis industry what’s gone wrong in the legal market, you’ll get a list of responses, but speculation is different than taking a real measurement, something that the Canadian Cannabis Survey aimed to do. Though we did have a similar survey in 2019, 2020 marks the very first year we’ve had anything to compare to, and the answers stay consistent. Consumers aren’t supporting the legal industry because their needs are being met, all thanks to strict regulations that result in low quality, sparse selection, and sky-high prices.

7. Cannabis and its role in our battle against superbugs

We used to ignore the possibility of getting sick, but these days dangerous superbugs and viruses have become a top priority for researchers everywhere. As we sought a solution for COVID-19, experts discovered and tested the abilities of CBD to work as an antibacterial and antimicrobial solution that is more powerful and effective than most chemical-based disinfectants. Unfortunately, we haven't quite bottled it for use just yet, but 2020 showed us that this could be possible, and that opens up so many new doors for the future of medicine.

8. CBD can help to keep fruit fresher for longer

When this insanity began, people were panic shopping, buying up all of the goods they could afford in an attempt to stock up and hide from COVID-19. Shipments of products from other countries slowed, and groceries were suddenly a challenging commodity to come by, so keeping things like produce fresh has become a trending interest. Well, in 2020, the results of a study showed the world that CBD could extend the shelf life of strawberries by inhibiting mould growth and reducing the microbial load. To do this, CBD oil was applied to the outside of the fruit, and it worked like a charm!

9. Cannabis flower can harbor germs, bacteria, and illnesses for several days

Once COVID-19 became a concern people everywhere were suddenly overwhelmingly aware of germs bacteria that can transfer from one person to the next through shared surfaces. Everything from fast food containers to groceries, and yes, even cannabis buds, were tested to see if there was a need to sanitize these surfaces, and as it turns out, the flower isn’t as sanitary or safe as you might think. Some studies conducted suggested that dry marijuana plant materials could harbor traces of COVID-19 for at least one full week, which was enough to make some of us quarantine our stash.

10. Cannabis is essential

For the first time in our lives, the world came to a screeching halt, forcing non-essential businesses to close to the public and this sparked debate over which products or services were truly necessary for us to live. Alcohol was kept accessible so that no one went into withdrawals, and grocery and pharmacies were essential for obvious reasons, but very few governments attempted to close dispensaries. Those that did immediately backtracked, allowing for some other form of exchange to take place. In less than 2 years, dispensaries went from illegal to essential, a move that confirmed the important role of the industry.

In the future, anything could be possible

The marijuana plant might not be able to cure everything, but it sure does have some pretty fantastic effects. As we learn more through trials and clinical research, it’s highly possible that those results will yield even more exciting discoveries about cannabinoids, but for now, we’ve made significant progress, and that’s something to celebrate. As far as cannabis research is concerned, 2020 hasn’t been too terrible to us at all. In fact, it's been an essential piece of what will eventually be our future.

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