The COVID-19 pandemic could lead to cannabis shortage just when we need it most.
Covid 19 affects everyone, but especially the vulnerable, such as those with already compromised immune systems. Many medicinal cannabis patients find themselves in this group, something that serves to underline the importance of preparedness for any supply shortages. Here are some tips to ensure you are ready to weather a potential cannabis shortage.
Do You Already Have Your Cannabis Gear?
Although the coronavirus doesn’t directly impact the cannabis industry, it does affect the all-important supply chain underpinning the global market that cannabis has become.
As more people isolate themselves from normal life, cannabis consumption will likely increase. But supply-chain issues in China, where much of the manufacturing takes place, may well prove to be the biggest threat to supplies. Much of this relates to vape-related hardware, ninety to ninety-five percent of which originate in China but can also mean shortages in papers, pipes, and bongs.
Are You Ready For Wider Economic Problems?
As stock markets across the globe take a hit, the cannabis sector is feeling more pain than most. After recent legalization, the associated hype and euphoria led to much optimism in North America. As the market was priced in optimistic times, the fall from overvaluation can’t come as a total surprise.
As a reliable metric of the broader economic implications of the virus, the market reaction is telling. With cannabis legalized federally in Canada, it perhaps offers the best metric by which to gauge market sentiment. And the outlook is not good.
Vast losses for several of the cannabis giants within Canada suggests that investors are worried. Canopy Growth has seen its stock price fall by forty-five percent over the last month. For other giants, like Aurora and Hexo, things are even bleaker. Those companies post losses of sixty and seventy percent respectively. As investors run scared, a knock-on effect to the consumer is inevitable.
As a nascent industry, cannabis is affected by a variety of outside forces over which it has little control. Political, economic, technological, legal, and environmental movements and schools of thought all affect it. For the newly emerging industry that is cannabis, it was never going to be straight sailing. The most hopeful news, however, is that access to cannabis has been deemed an ‘essential service.’ So, patients and other consumers don’t need to worry that the stores will be closed.
Black market cannabis may also experience a shortage with the additional complications of closed borders and increased security at points of entry into countries.
Current Cannabis Shortages
The state of Illinois, which legalized cannabis in 2019, has already reported a shortage of cannabis. And much more worrying for the rest of us are recent quarantine events across the world.
China produces most of the vape batteries and cartridges for western markets, and recent supply chain interruptions, due to quarantines, translate into a greatly reduced output from the Chinese manufacturing sector. Such interruptions dwarf any current localized shortages in North America.
With the lack of manufacturing facilities in North America, the steady supply of goods that the West has traditionally enjoyed from China is no longer viable in the short term. As a result, prices rise, shortages increase, and talk of incoming catastrophes gain momentum.
JP Morgan anticipates a recession in both the US and Europe by July. As investors run scared, the knock-on effects extend far and wide. Companies cut budgets, lay off staff, and alter projections. Survival becomes the primary concern as the innovations that drove up supply, stock price, and employment rates, all begin to wane.
Cannabis Availability May Drop While Consumption Increases
Despite the supply chain issues, cannabis is demonstrating itself to be a recession-proof plant. With people in isolation as schools, universities, and workplaces close, cannabis sales are booming.
Cannabis is necessary for many medicinal patients, and is desirable for many other consumers. With all of this increased demand, what can consumers do to stretch their current supplies?
Are You Ready to Stretch Your Cannabis Supply? Here’s How to
If worst comes to the worst and there are shortages, patients will want to be ready to use these tips to ensure you stretch your stash.
Switch to Concentrates or Edibles
Switching temporarily to full-spectrum concentrates or edibles is a great option for those who traditionally prefer smoking flower. Concentrates offer much higher dosing than flower, and when bought in larger quantities, will last a longer time. Edibles, while capped legally at ten milligrams, often provide a longer-lasting effect that won’t aggravate any respiratory symptoms.
Don’t let Cannabis Dry Out
For those who buy a large stash, it’s essential to ensure it remains hydrated. Dry cannabis burns much faster, and a little humidity within the flower will help ensure it doesn’t go up in smoke too quickly. Humidity packs such as those offered by Boveda ensure a constant humidity of sixty-two percent when stored in an airtight jar. This will also prevent mold growth from overly moist weed.
Don’t Overpack Bowls
While a packed bowl may look the part, it often results in unnecessary wastage. Patients intent on making their stash last should avoid overpacking so as not to lose flower to unnecessary burning. Patients who are used to an overpacked bowl should be ready to consume smaller portions.
Use a One-hitter
The use of a chillum will help ensure more efficient use of flower. Loading just enough into the pipe for one hit ensures minimal wastage.
Use Gauze in the Bowl
Those using bongs should ensure they use a gauze lining in the bowl. Without it, cannabis flower falls through and accumulates in the water, totally wasted.
Perfect a Rolling Technique
It’s always surprising how much cannabis flower is wasted due to inefficient rolling techniques. Use a rolling tray to ensure minimal wastage, and roll joints tight with evenly ground cannabis. Thin rolling papers burn slower than thick papers, and hemp is often the best choice of paper due to its slow-burning nature.
Grow Your Own
Indoor grow set ups can increase your personal supply. While it may seem far-fetched now, the option could become an ever more attractive option given how long this current crisis may last. An autoflower variety under a grow light at home may yield a decent crop in a little over two months. Sour Crack, the hybrid that’s well known for its relaxing properties, is the fastest-growing autoflower of all, and growers can expect to harvest in seven weeks.
Are You Ready? Some Further Cannabis Supply Precautions
As many people spend abundant time in isolation over the coming weeks and months, it’s important to take some essential precautions with cannabis consumption.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends those suffering from symptoms to refrain from smoking. With the increased likelihood of aggravating the respiratory system, other means of consumption are preferable.
In addition to being more attractive to many consumers given the current circumstances, edibles and cannabis-infused honey tea may well provide a better alternative. Orally ingested cannabis often provides a longer-lasting and more potent effect per gram of flower.
For those who prefer smoking, avoid sharing joints, blunts, and bongs. Further, wipe down any paraphernalia after each use with alcohol to help limit the spread of any potentially harmful bacteria.
Lastly, as tough as the current situation may be on many, it’s always made a little easier with some high-quality cannabis! So, save your supply with the above tips to ensure you are ready for a potential drought.