CBD Sales Are Going Through the Roof, Thanks to COVID-19
Without a cure, vaccine, or reliable treatment for the coronavirus in sight, people are turning to alternative forms of self-care — for better or worse.
Published on May 11, 2020

When the COVID-19 crisis first hit, people stocked up on weed, the kind with THC. But over the past few months, consumers have also been stocking up on another component of cannabis: CBD

According to Alpha Green, a UK-based CBD supplier, more Britons are buying more CBD than ever before. Currently, 8.4 million people in the UK have bought CBD this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At that rate, the UK will spend over $550 million on the non-intoxicating cannabis compound, a 50 percent surge over 2019’s figures, Forbes reported. Globally, CBD is expected to become a multi-billion-dollar market within the next few years

But people aren’t buying CBD to prevent or stop the development of COVID-19. Rather, they’re buying it to control their anxiety levels, which, quite frankly, have been veritable roller coasters for a lot of people over the past few months. 

“The key here is that with people feeling anxious, having trouble sleeping and, in some cases, feeling let down by the traditional health system, they have looked for alternatives,” Alpha Green’s CEO Alexej Pikovsky told Forbes. However, despite the spike in sales owing to coronavirus-inspired panic-buying, most Brits — or 42 percent of consumers — are still taking CBD to treat chronic pain rather than wrangling anxiety. But 41 percent of consumers, a close second-place, are buying CBD for insomnia or anxiety

Meanwhile, overseas in the US, CBD companies are enjoying their relatively newfound legality. And reports from pot shops indicate CBD sales are surging in America under the coronavirus pandemic, too. 

Santa Fe CBD, a CBD company in New Mexico, recently experienced a significant uptick in sales due to the COVID-19 crisis. The store’s owners told KOAT News that most customers buy CBD for managing chronic pain or anxiety, just like consumers in the UK. 

"It's been a steady climb, definitely. This whole COVID-19 lockdown has played a big role,” Charles Talachy, one of the co-owners of Santa Fe CBD, said.

"People don't have money, people don't have jobs, and they're already stretched thin as it is with groceries, and everything is out of stock," said Adam Valerio, who owns the company with Talachy.

Last year, the FDA approved a specific formulation of CBD, called Epidiolex, for treating rare seizure disorders. However, last month, the DEA removed Epidiolex (and not CBD) from the federal list of controlled substances, meaning the drug can now be prescribed for off-label uses, as well.

Whether CBD or other parts of cannabis can treat COVID-19 remains to be proven. Canadian and Israeli scientists are investigating whether CBD in conjunction with other conventional drugs, such as steroids, can treat COVID-19. However, doctors and marijuana activists are cautioning people against smoking or vaping weed in the event they do come down with COVID-19, since smoking could potentially worsen the illness. Furthermore, US authorities are cracking down on any company that claims CBD can cure the coronavirus.

As of this writing, 4.2 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus worldwide. The virus has appeared in over 122 countries and territories, and it is responsible for at least 284,000 deaths. To date, 1.5 million people have recovered. 

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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