The continuing pandemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus has sparked panic buying in countries around the globe, leading to shortages of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and some grocery items. Cannabis retailers have also seen a spike in sales, with long lines of customers eager to stock up on their favorite flower, concentrates, and edibles in several cities.

But what exactly is driving the binge buying? Anxiety? Fears of a potential supply shortage? To find out, online medicinal cannabis resource AmericanMarijuana.org asked nearly 1,000 pot users about their current buying habits. Participants were asked questions ranging from how they felt about the outbreak to how important cannabis is compared to other consumer goods in short supply because of the pandemic.

To conduct the poll, researchers surveyed 990 U.S. marijuana users. A qualifying question was used to ensure those being surveyed actually use cannabis before the survey asked respondents their views on several issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and cannabis.

Just under half of the survey’s participants said that they had indeed stocked up on cannabis products because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Among those who said that they had stocked up, 55% said that they did so to calm themselves during the coronavirus outbreak. Another 23% stocked up over fears over both a potential scarcity of marijuana and the coronavirus itself. About 22% said that they weren’t concerned about the pandemic but “just wanted to chill at home with some weed.”

Weed For Wellness

Dwight K. Blake, the editor in chief of AmericanMarijuana.org and a former mental health counselor, said that the poll demonstrates the faith people put in cannabis to support mental wellness in times of stress.

“It seems that the calming effects of cannabis do help weed consumers cope with this rude reality, making it the main motive for stocking cannabis amid the pandemic outbreak,” he said in an email to High Times

Of those who said that they hadn’t stocked up on pot because of the pandemic, 36% said they weren’t worried about a shortage of marijuana. Just over 35% said that they had prioritized stocking up on toilet paper, face masks, or hand sanitizer instead. Almost 29% said that they hadn’t felt the need to stock up on anything because of the outbreak.

The survey also asked how participants felt about the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 54% said that they were calm and felt that everything would be alright. More than 40% said that they were worried sick, while more than 5% said that they didn’t care about the outbreak. A third of respondents said that they had been consuming more cannabis than usual since the pandemic began.

Another question asked those who participated in the survey if marijuana or one of several items in high demand were more important during the outbreak. Nearly 28% said that it was more important to have weed than a face mask. Almost 83% said toilet paper was more important than pot. Almost 15% said that pot was more valuable to them than hand sanitizer. Over 5% said it was more important to have weed during the outbreak than food!

Respondents were also asked which of several activities would they rather do if the federal government imposes a nationwide quarantine because of the pandemic. Almost 17% said that they would prefer to smoke weed, more than surfing the internet (15%) and indoor exercising or sports (13%). More than 28% said that binge-watching TV shows would be their go-to activity during a mandatory quarantine, while nearly 27% said that they would prefer spending time on hobbies such as cooking or playing music.

The marijuana users who are also turning to other activities to occupy their time during the coronavirus outbreak might be onto something. We can’t expect cannabis to be a panacea for uncertain times, as Blake pointed out.

“What worries me is the fact that many people seem to be relying too much on the anxiety relief effects of cannabis to ease fears,” he said. “Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, I do hope people stay healthy by exercising more and by protecting themselves with face masks and hand sanitizers.” “There’s nothing wrong about having some weed, but we should not rely solely on it.”

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