The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the world economy in ways that nobody thought possible. While the COVID-19 mortality rate and the total number of people who have died from this disease have been far lower than experts originally predicted, strict lockdown policies have changed the way that people consume goods and the types of goods they consume.
Overall consumption of CBD is up during coronavirus-related lockdowns despite the financial burdens that consumers have taken on as the economy has entered a recession. People who already used CBD for psychological issues like anxiety have dramatically increased their consumption, and the popularity of CBD among younger people has spiked despite Millennials and Zoomers being the hardest-hit by the recent economic downturn.
In this guide, we’ll cover specific changes in CBD use by generation and income level, and we’ll also explain changes that have occurred in CBD usage rates, CBD spending, and CBD purchasing channels. At the end, we’ll give our predictions regarding how CBD use will continue to change as the United States and the rest of the world struggle to rein in the chaotic effects of the virus and the ensuing lockdowns. Let’s dive in:
Out of people who were already using CBD, younger individuals have been the most likely to increase their CBD consumption during the pandemic. While only 17% of Baby Boomers and 40% of Gen Xers have increased their CBD consumption in response to COVID-19, 51% of Millennials and 48% of Zoomers have started using more CBD. Only 8% of members of the Silent Generation have increased their CBD usage, which is to be expected since people in this generational cohort are the least likely to use CBD in the first place.
This notable increase in CBD usage among younger individuals doesn’t seem to result from a perception that CBD might provide protection from COVID-19 or increase immune health. Rather, Millennials and Zoomers are using increased quantities of CBD to deal with the stress and anxiety that coronavirus fears and lockdown policies are causing. With the media telling young people that COVID-19 might kill them at any moment and states telling them that they can’t go outside or socialize, younger CBD users have turned to this cannabinoid as a relaxing, non-intoxicating stress solution.
Increased CBD usage during the pandemic isn’t surprising given the fact that people are doing everything they can to deal with anxiety—sometimes with disastrous results. Alcohol sales increased dramatically following the imposition of lockdown orders, and instances of opioid overdose have also gone through the roof. It’s fortunate that people who have been affected by COVID-related anxiety can reach for alternatives like non-intoxicating, non-toxic, and non-addictive CBD.
More than 75% of Millennial and Zoomer CBD users report that this cannabinoid helps them with stress related to the pandemic while less than 50% of Baby Boomers reported similar results. From these data, it’s possible to infer that younger people are more aware of the potential stress-fighting benefits of CBD, and they might be making better choices regarding the substances they use to deal with virus fears and lockdown hysteria.
Unsurprisingly, individuals with higher household incomes have been the most likely to increase their CBD use during the COVID-19 pandemic. While CBD has become significantly less expensive over the last few years, using CBD more than once or twice per week often represents a significant investment.
Individuals with household incomes exceeding $150,000 per year have been 52% more likely to increase their CBD use during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, and CBD users in the $100,000-$150,000 range have been close behind at 50%. People in households that take in $75,000-$100,000 per year have been 43% more likely to increase their CBD consumption, and 37% of households in the $40,000-$75,000 range have started using more CBD.
It might come as some surprise that 33% of individuals with household incomes below $40,000 also started using more CBD. For people at this income level, finding a budget for CBD can pose serious challenges, which just goes to show how important CBD has become for people at all levels of income.
Individuals at the lowest levels of the income ladder will not, however, be able to sustain their increased CBD use indefinitely. With government assistance running out for many of our nation's lowest earners, low-income people who have been using CBD to cope with stress, anxiety, or other conditions during the pandemic may soon be forced to choose between hemp and housing.
This loss of access to CBD may incentivize low-income households to turn to alcohol and other cheaper, more dangerous stress-fighting alternatives. Once lockdowns end and people at all levels of financial success regain their primary sources of income, economically vulnerable individuals will be able to start using CBD sustainably again.
By usage rate
People who already used CBD frequently before the pandemic were the most likely to start using more CBD once non-stop media coverage of the virus and lockdown orders became the norm. More than half of the individuals who used CBD more than five days per week before COVID-19 reported increased CBD usage compared to 32% of CBD users who ingested this cannabinoid 1-4 times per week pre-coronavirus.
Only 15% of intermittent CBD users increased their consumption of this cannabinoid, and it’s likely that this figure will remain steady regardless of how long COVID-19 remains part of our daily lives. The percentage of frequent CBD users who have increased their use in response to COVID-19 has gone up by 7% since March, however, indicating that people who commonly use CBD more than five times per week may become even more likely to increase their use the longer that lockdown and other coronavirus-related social phenomena persist.
People who use CBD the most frequently are also the most likely to report that this cannabinoid is useful for combating stress and anxiety related to the pandemic. More than 75% of people who use CBD more than five times per week say that this cannabinoid has served as an effective coronavirus stress-reliever, but even individuals who ingest CBD more rarely report success in their efforts to use cannabidiol products for this purpose.
Out of people who only use CBD 1-4 times per week, 67% reported that CBD was helpful for COVID stress and anxiety, and 51% of intermittent users reported the same results. Regardless of how frequently a CBD user indulges in this cannabinoid, the majority of people who use CBD stand behind its potential stress-reducing and anxiety-fighting effects.
Changes in spending
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic becoming a topic of widespread concern in March of this year, only ⅕ of CBD users planned to decrease their CBD usage. As of June, however, 40% of CBD users have reported spending less money on CBD, which reflects increasing economic concerns related to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Intriguingly, however, 41% of cannabidiol users have increased the amount of money they spend on CBD products in the wake of the pandemic. Many of the CBD users in this category use this cannabinoid more than five times per week, which illustrates the significant degree to which heavy users have come to rely on CBD.
Broken down by demographics, Zoomers have been equally likely to increase or decrease their CBD spending during the coronavirus pandemic. Millennials, who have higher incomes on average than Zoomers, have been more likely to increase their CBD spending than reduce the amount of money they spend on this cannabinoid.
The same goes for Gen Xers, among whom 41% increased their CBD spending and 36% decreased their spending. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, were far more likely to decrease their spending than they were to spend more money on CBD, and this divide was even more apparent among members of the Silent Generation.
Before the pandemic, 96% of CBD users reported that they were content with the hemp products they currently used, and only 4% indicated that they planned to switch to other product types. Starting in June, however, 21% of CBD users said that they planned to switch away from inhalable CBD products due to the common misperception that CBD flower, CBD vapes, and other inhalable CBD products can make you more likely to contract coronavirus or worsen the symptoms of this viral infection.
There is, however, no evidence whatsoever that using inhalable CBD products makes COVID-19 more dangerous in any way. In fact, CBD has recently become the subject of scientific research into the possibility that this cannabinoid might help with lung inflammation. It should come as no surprise that this misperception has persisted, however, given the incredible proliferation of misinformation related to the risks COVID-19 poses and the proper remedies that should be pursued.
In addition to switching product types, CBD users have also become more likely to use higher doses of this cannabinoid during the coronavirus pandemic. Among Zoomers, 56% have started using higher-dosage CBD products, and 61% of Millennials have made similar changes. Around half of Gen Xers have upped their CBD doses, but increases in CBD use have been far less pronounced in Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation.
Higher doses of CBD provide more pronounced effects, and higher-milligram CBD products are also more cost-effective, satisfying both the increased demand for CBD during COVID-19 and the economic hardships that CBD users have faced. High doses of inhalable CBD products, such as CBD pre-rolls and vapes, offer the most potent effects of any CBD product types while remaining remarkably affordable. Again, there is no evidence that inhalable CBD products make COVID-19 more dangerous in any capacity.
Changes in purchasing channels
As CBD users across the country have been forced to stay in their homes and subjected to rapidly changing social norms, they have unsurprisingly taken their CBD business online. Almost half of CBD consumers who previously purchased their hemp products in retail stores have started buying CBD online instead, which has harmed brick-and-mortar stores while serving as an incredible boon for online retailers.
At 54%, Millennials have been the most likely to start shopping for CBD online in the era of COVID-19. Zoomers have lagged slightly behind at 48%, and 44% of Gen Xers have also gotten onboard with this trend. In contrast, around 30% of Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation have made the shift, which can be chalked up to the internet-proficiency age gap.
CBD users who have switched to buying hemp products online are unlikely to return to retail stores. Buying CBD vape pens, CBD flower, and other types of CBD products is simply much easier and more rewarding when you shop online. When you buy CBD online, you gain access to customer reviews, lab reports, and a much larger pool of available products.
CBD consumption predictions in a post-COVID world
Despite proving to be far less deadly and disruptive than even the most conservative models predicted, COVID-related lockdowns and other pandemic-related disruptions are unlikely to end anytime soon. Regardless, people are getting back to work and returning to their normal lives, which means that the spike in CBD use observed between March and June is unlikely to be repeated.
At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic has opened the eyes of millions of people to the healing power of natural substances. More people than ever are dissatisfied with the often-incorrect proclamations of the professional medical establishment, and they’re hungry for alternatives. As a result, the popularity of CBD is highly unlikely to decrease post-coronavirus, and this cannabinoid will almost certainly become an even more important part of mainstream American life.