As we approach six months of living in the COVID-19 pandemic, research is emerging about how people are using cannabis products to deal with an anxiety provoking time.

New Frontier Data, a firm that specializes in cannabis industry intelligence, released a report earlier this month that analyzed retail sales from 24 legal cannabis markets. They found that “average consumer monthly spending rose to record highs in April and May, reaching $290 and $296, respectively.”

Concern about the strength of THC along with barriers to access has other consumers turning to CBD products, which have also seen a spike in sales. Another cannabis research firm, Brightfield Group, analyzed April social media posts involving CBD and found that the majority discussed self-care—consumers hoping to improve their sleep or reduce their anxiety.

Amy, who lives in Cape Elizabeth, has dealt with generalized anxiety for years and has found that most of the time, she can manage with the integrative approach that has become a standard of care: eat healthy, stay hydrated, get exercise and prioritize sleep.

In the pandemic, that was not enough for her. While marijuana was “never really my thing,” she says, Amy tried THC edibles for the first time in a long time, opting for Sugar Free Mini Suckers from Seed & Sound Herbal Apothecary in Windham. The product has 10mg of THC per dose and over the last month, Amy has been tinkering with her dosage and timing, estimating she takes between 3mg and 5mg a day.

Amy is the kind of consumer for whom Liz Kirby is looking. Kirby is the founder of Good Jane, a CBD brand based in Portland and marketed as a safe, transparent and accessible brand for people who are getting comfortable with CBD, particularly women. As a small business owner working out of her home with her two young children present full-time, Kirby is in the thick of it.

“What used to be a one-a-day Hello Mellow has turned into a two-or-three-a-day,” she said about using her own product. Hello Mellow is a capsule with 15mg of broad spectrum hemp with holy basil, skullcap, lemon balm and no THC.

Kirby said her consumer sales have followed national trends, but they have been undercut by a significant loss of wholesale business to brick-and-mortar dispensaries. As the fourth quarter approaches, she is investing in direct consumer sales to her target demographic.

According to the New Frontier research, cannabis sales dipped slightly in June but remained above average from the first quarter of 2020. As our economy reels from massive unemployment, it remains to be seen how consumers will prioritize spending, but feeling “good” is a simple thrill these days.

“I don’t think that there is one specific cure for anxiety. It’s different for everyone,” Amy from Cape Elizabeth said. “But it has been at least a little bit helpful, and a little bit helpful means a lot right now.”

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