HIGHly Opinionated: Covid and Cannabis, One Year Later

Remember in the beginning of March 2020, when everybody was saying “when everything gets back to normal” before talking about the future? Good times. Anyways, here we are, a year later, in the future. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve learned a whole lot over the past year, here are a few examples:

1 – Our government has collectively screwed it all up, because politics are WAY more important than human health, the economy is more important than death. (We’re not going into this in detail, I promise, not that type of blog).

2 – Listening to experts makes complete sense until the experts stop making sense. (Sorry, that was the last one)

3 – It’s way more doable than you would think to wear sweatpants for an entire year, not touching jeans once.

4 – Working at jobs you don’t like is completely overrated, actually, life is way too short to do things you don’t like. YOLO!

5 – Prison in Scandanavian countries isn’t that bad. (It’s literally like your apartment).

6 – Anxiety, depression and insomnia isn’t any better when everybody is collectively feeling the same way. 

7 – I lived a pretty hobbit-esque, introverted life before Covid, and even I’m getting tired of my little apartment. I take walks now, daily, which I had no concept of before. 

8 – People suck.

9 – Don’t ever under-estimamate your cannabis consumption. Just when you think you hit the limit, a new limit is born. Just when you think you’ve spent WAY too much money on weed last month, boom! It’s now a new month. There are no more rules, we’re in survival mode, so survive by any means necessary. 

You get the idea, I’ve learned many lessons over the past 12 months, that list can be a lot longer but for the purpose of this article, we’ll stick to the last point. I wrote a piece in March of last year about the tricky relationship between cannabis and self-isolation, and after going through it again, and it seems that nothing has changed. This relationship remains quite delicate, let’s be real, cannabis has helped us all through these tough times, however; with normalcy comes routine and with routine comes, well, mini-tolerance breaks. 

This whole thing has become a self-medicating marathon, I don’t think I’d be smoking this much weed without this amount of anxiety and uncertainty. Many people went from smoking recreationally to realizing that consuming lots of cannabis is probably a healthier option than day drinking on a day-to-day basis just to cope, that’s not recreational anymore. I guess what I’m really saying is that we haven’t figured anything out and a year is a long time. Some people went from being couch potatoes to trying new hobbies: baking, exercising, playing guitar. Others went the opposite direction, from productive to barely alive. There is no right or wrong anymore, the information that we’re receiving from so-called “experts” makes absolutely no sense, it seems that society is trying to figure mental-health out with no help. It’s not really about Covid anymore, any rational person understands the risk, all the precautions taken, and how dangerous such a virus is. But at the same time, IT’S BEEN A YEAR, at this point we’re all just trying to stay somewhat sane. Cannabis helps me stay sane, too much of it on the other hand, helps me stay numb, there’s a big difference between numb and sane. 

LET’S BREAK DOWN SOME NUMBERS:

Everything under the HIGHly Opinionated “title” is my opinion, from time to time, I like to splash some numbers around because usually, they don’t lie. 

Cannabis sales in October 2020 in Canada hit $244.9 Million CAD, just to put things in perspective, during the same Month in 2018 sales were $53.7 million, in 2019 it was at $129 million. Sure, there are more stores, but let’s not forget the Covid impact. The cannabis industry showed a lot of growth while most other industries suffered, basically, we’ve all been stacking up on flower since the beginning of this whole thing.

Statistics Canada show that Ontario sold me more cannabis in the first year after legalization, which amounted to $217 million in sales. In 2020, Ontario reached $186 million in sales in only one month: April to May

According to a recent Leafly report, In the US, during an economic recession and spiked unemployment numbers, the cannabis industry added 77,000 full-time jobs in 2020. Spiking sales usually means more work available, and sales are spiking! Here’s a good example from Massechusets; retailers sold $700 million in cannabis products in 2020, compared to $400 million in 2019. 

(Graphic data courtesy of Headset and CannaCraft)

Another interesting stat from this Leafly report (coming from data analysts at Headset and Cannacraft) is that in California, established consumers increased their average purchase size by about 33%. People are buying more cannabis due to pandemic stress, that’s a given, however there is also the fact that money isn’t being spent as much in general. There are fewer options available for leisure spending; clubs, bars, concerts, movies…that money is going into buying more weed!

COPING WITH UNCERTAINTY

Normal has gone out the window; uncertainty, collective anxiety, confusion, all of those are part of our new normal now. Find a way to cope with it or it will eat you alive. There are a bunch of studies available that clearly show an uptick in mental health issues during the pandemic, and since cannabis isn’t as harmful as other substances, we’re all using it to be able to cope with all of this nonsense. 

Many medical cannabis patients have increased their use over this last, by a whole lot. The concern is that we may be developing new routines that may persist throughout the pandemic and beyond, like this over-consumption. 

Now let’s be real, the whole day-drinking thing where parents were opening up bottles of wine before lunch time just to cope with the kids running around all day may have been funny at first, or somewhat relatable, but it’s also terrible for your health. The fact that it took a 4-minute phone convo with a random doctor (because walk-in clinics are now closed for in person appointments, they get a DR to call you) for them to prescribe me 30 pills of Zopiclone, a very strong sleeping pill, is also terrible (true story). So abusing cannabis during these hard times, when comparing to other “vices”, is not the end of the world. 

You know what they say though, everything in moderation, even weed. Tolerance breaks are very needed, it may be difficult right now, but it does feel good. Here’s to me not writing an article in the beginning of 2022 entitled: Covid and Cannabis, Two Years Later!

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