UN report: Cannabis markets were positively influenced by the coronavirus pandemic

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The coronavirus pandemic caused certain retail markets to grow much faster than they would have had the pandemic not erupted. This is according to an up-to-date report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The effect that COVID-19 has had on many mainstream industries is especially noticeable in high-income countries, according to the UN’s investigation. It confirmed that both legal and illegal cannabis-related activities ramped up post-pandemic.

“Indeed, large, multibillion-dollar businesses, which have a private interest in the expansion of the cannabis use market, are moving into the market in the jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized,” reads an excerpt from the UN report on cannabis during the pandemic. 

The report goes on to say that COVID-19 may have bolstered the availability of cannabis and the rate at which preexisting consumption growth trends transpired. 

“Some people have turned to the drug to alleviate stress or manage boredom brought on by stay-at-home orders,” say researchers. “This, in turn, may have opened up new opportunities for cannabis markets due to an emerging acceptance of the drug.”

32 countries saw increase in use of cannabis during pandemic 

Approximately 200 billion people around the world are estimated to have consumed cannabis amid the pandemic. This accounts for four percent of the global population.

“The annual prevalence of the use of cannabis remains highest in North America (14.5%), the sub-region of Australia and New Zealand (12.1%), and West and Central Africa (9.4%),” was a key takeaway from the report.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime cited a global survey, which assisted the body in drawing a clear picture of the effects that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the global cannabis market. 

After close analysis of consumption patterns around the world, the UNODC team found that approximately 32 countries experienced a spike in use of the plant amid the COVID-19 health crisis.

“In the absence of information on global production of cannabis, this can be read as an indication that supply may have expanded to meet the increase in consumption,” reads an excerpt from the report on cannabis use during the pandemic. 

It’s important to note that the report focuses on unregulated cannabis markets, as opposed to strictly targeting legal markets.

“Some cannabis markets have grown strongly during the pandemic – and likely because of it – as a result of stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions,” continues the report, which indicates how cannabis consumption behavior in European Union countries was overly stable when the first lockdown period took place.

In comparison with the pre-lockdown period, the first lockdown demonstrated “some signs of possible increases in the amounts used by more frequent users.” 

Moreover, the UN highlighted the fact that over one-third of Canadians who previously reported using cannabis said that their consumption habits increased amid the pandemic. Meanwhile, 12 percent reported using less weed during the pandemic; a Statistics Canada report was referenced to gather these statistics. 

“However, this trend was ongoing before the onset of the pandemic, which may have simply accelerated it,” the authors of this UN report on cannabis during pandemic added.

UN report on cannabis during pandemic highlighted impacts of increasing potencies

Aside from exploring the use of cannabis during COVID-19 lockdown periods, the UN reporters also delved into the subject of potency. Based on their findings, the average potency of cannabis has risen over the last few decades.

Interestingly, fewer young people are concerned by rising potencies. With this information, the UN body is now pushing nations to make public health a priority over private business. In addition to prioritizing public health, the UNDOC is urging nations to impose all-encompassing bans on cannabis-product advertising.

Furthermore, nations are being asked to tackle any false information regarding the likely impacts of increased cannabis potency, as well as boost investments in the research space; the UN body emphasized the benefits that cannabis may have on people’s health.

If you wish to learn more about illegal drug shipment trends, home delivery services and Internet-enabled drug trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here..