No question about it – the pandemic has fueled a lot of stress and anxiety throughout our culture. Parents worrying about their kids and school. Retailers and hospitality workers stressing about lost sales. Vulnerable populations trying to stay out of the hospital. Employees struggling with work-from-home isolation. The list of effects that Covid has had on us continues to evolve. But the news is not all bad. We’re all learning different ways to cope with new realities and guess what … CBD is playing a role!

CBD as a legitimate mental health supplement

As a consumer product, CBD proponents have slowly been slaying the myths and batting down misinformation ever since the 2018 Farm Bill re-legalized hemp agriculture. Now sold in main-stream chain pharmacies across the US, CBD products have been showing steady gains in public acceptance, especially in communities with a robust hemp-farming sector. But no sooner did we get a couple of harvests under our belts when … the pandemic hit. This game-changing worldwide condition has massively realigned entire industries in both positive and negative ways, as well as shifted the way we live our day-to-day lives. Shopping, travel, education, dining out, worship, remote working, and family gatherings have all become immensely deliberative processes, adding a new and complicated layer to everyday decision-making. The result, of course, is increasing levels of anxiety and stress. While we certainly don’t celebrate the widespread downside of this health crisis, we can at least be thankful that CBD is stepping up to play a role in mental health support at this critical time.

Positive forecasts

Just about every prediction we see indicates that the future is bright for CBD-based consumer products across the board – food, supplements, topicals – and as producers, this corroborates an optimistic mindset. There are several factors underlying these upbeat forecasts, including an increasingly positive regulatory environment and an expanding body of knowledge and experience around hemp production. But we can’t ignore the role that the pandemic also plays in the upticking consumer demand for CBD-based offerings.

Our altered national mood

We are past the early stages of the corona virus scenario when there was a lot more fear and unknowns, and no solutions on the horizon. Fair to say that at this point, many factors are becoming more manageable, somewhat easing the low-level panic that underscored 2020. Still, the impacts continue to be felt each day and for many, the uncertainties and financial effects are ongoing as people seek to adapt to the new normal. In other words, it doesn’t appear the psychological shocks are going to be put behind us any time soon.

All is not darkness!

Even if surges and masks are an enduring hallmark of our shared foreseeable future, our collective solutions set and our ability to manage through the pandemic are improving with time. Part of that improving outlook is the portfolio of coping mechanisms we are accumulating as a society, to include embracing the calming, soothing benefits of CBD. While we certainly don’t celebrate the downsides of this health crisis, we can at least acknowledge that it has created a much bigger appreciation for healthy hacks like CBD!

While the competitive retail sector continues to sort itself out, the production side of our industry is also still going through some infrastructure challenges. It’s easy to get frustrated with the shortage of after-harvest processors but let’s keep in mind how very, very young this industry still is in North America. There seems little doubt that as time goes by, these problems will continue to resolve as we build robust networks and chains that more efficiently help us get our harvests out of the field and into the marketplace. We absolutely are on a growth path and, for better or worse, the anxiety-producing pandemic has helped drive demand and acceptance for CBD-based consumer products … and has laid a foundation for a lucrative and enduring future for growers.