The gardening boom ala’ COVID-19 has extended to the world of weed. Coronavirus ‘Victory Gardens’ have officially become a thing.
Twitter is twittering with posts like, ‘Smoke your own victory garden’ and #cannabistoo popping up in COVID-19 related news. Much like the “victory gardens” our grandparents cultivated, current-day gardening has surged in popularity, both as a means of self-sufficiency and a productive way to spend time. The boom extends to the businesses that support the gardening industry — Scotts Miracle-Gro and Lowe’s — which are seeing increased sales and revenue in this area.
The shelter in place orders issued by so many states meant that while cannabis businesses were deemed essential by many states (with legalized, adult-use, and medical marijuana), access suddenly became a problem. Some states, like Vermont, where cannabis is legal to possess and grow (albeit in small quantities), the lack of recreational and medical dispensaries meant large-quantity consumers had to start thinking about providing their own supply. And many people have turned to online tutorials and classes to learn how to cultivate their favorite flower in their COVID-19 “Victory Gardens”.
Hawthorne Gardening, a subsidiary of Scotts Miracle-Gro, saw their earnings for the quarter up 60% from the same quarter a year ago. Chris Hagedorn, the head of Hawthorne, said in an interview that when the whole coronavirus pandemic started, they joked that people would sit home as ordered, smoke pot, and garden. Hagedorn also attributes an increased demand for cannabis during the last two months. It has helped increase sales in plant propagation supplies.
But the hype isn’t just about smokable cannabis, either. Proponents say hemp fiber can be useful in toilet paper — a handy thing to have on hand when the world seems to be falling apart.
And in an entirely different forum, researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, recently published the results from a non-peer-reviewed preclinical study in the peer journal Preprints. The study results indicated that high-CBD hemp extracts may block proteins that provide a “gateway” for COVID-19 to enter host cells. Researchers speculated that the effects observed in the study might be related to reputed anti-inflammatory properties of high-CBD extract.
Tests were conducted on artificial human 3D models of oral, airway and intestinal tissues. Study author Dr. Igor Kovalchuk said in a press release, “Our initial findings warrant further investigation, but it’s possible that medical cannabis products could become a safe adjunct therapy for the treatment of COVID-19.”
In the meantime, newly minted cannabis gardeners are crying ‘victory’ over the investments they’ve made into cultivating their own ganja. Those that consumed $500 or more each month in cannabis may have already seen a return on their initial investment of growing supplies.
While many of those still employed are working from home, starting a garden — even just a few plants in containers — can help relieve stress. Gardening can have an overall calming effect on both the mind and body. Another plus? Several studies have shown a boost to the immune system improved illness recovery times, just by interacting with plants and actively gardening.