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by KRM Research Staff

With so many lives lost, families in turmoil and businesses closed down due to the current pandemic, the Kanna Risk Management staff certainly does not want to diminish the extent of the trouble. But the current data shows that among the industry casualties around the world, the cannabis industry has been unscathed. More than that, the cannabis industry’s 2020 growth is currently outpacing that of 2019.

If there is one major ailment that COVID-19 produces across the board — in people who unfortunately have it, in those who have no symptoms, and in those who are simply concerned about it — it’s anxiety. And in times like today, cannabis is a proven and effective medicine helping people cope with anxiety.

So it should come as no surprise that retail cannabis sales have been doing very well. In one state alone, Pennsylvania, the number of patient visits at medical dispensaries has zoomed by more than 70 percent over the past six months. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, dispensaries have sold as much cannabis as they had during the previous two years combined: $385 million over the six-month period compared to $400 million since the inception of their program.

On a nationwide basis, there was a significant spike in dispensary sales once Americans began to react to COVID-19 in March. The panic buying declined in April when sheltering-in-place took hold and dispensaries were labeled as essential businesses, but started to climb upwards again as the second wave of COVID-19 hit, at volumes significantly higher than 2019.

Interestingly, a study by American Marijuana tracking over one million cannabis-related comments and threads in Reddit shows strong correlation with retail sales. They conclude that Americans are increasingly turning to cannabis to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of course, it would be idea to have your cake and eat it too, so to say. And two researchers  from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, Olga and Igor Kovalchuck, have been testing novel cannabis strains designed to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Their theory is that certain strains could potentially block COVID-19 from entering a person’s body to begin with, by decreasing the level of ACE2 gene receptors which would be like closing doors to the virus. The strain could also prevent the virus from being able to propagate once it’s already entered someone’s system. They believe that extracts of the strains could soon be used to develop preventative treatments such as mouthwash for at-home use.