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Dutch cannabis cafes see business boom during pandemic

While access to bars, restaurants and nightclubs were limited, the coffee shops were able to stay open for takeaway.

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Pandemic: A canal in Amsterdam highlighting cannabis use during Dutch pandemic

Dutch coffee shops say lockdown resulted in a boost in business, as consumers worried about  access to cannabis, with many citing poor mental health.

A new survey reveals that 90 per cent of Dutch cannabis users are consuming at least as much or more, since the start of the pandemic, as lockdown caused panic among consumers. It estimated that three-quarters of participants were consuming every day.

The survey by Trimbos, a research institute on mental health and addictions surveyed 1,562 Dutch people on their cannabis consumption at the start of the pandemic. It revealed that the reasons given for consumption were boredom, stress and loneliness. A further 36.3 per cent consumed cannabis due to poor mental health.

As with all of Europe, the Netherlands went into lockdown in March 2020, as Covid-19 cases rose. While access to bars, restaurants and nightclubs were limited, the coffee shops were able to stay open for takeaway but cafes had to close any smoking lounges and rooms.

Panic caused by the closure of some shops meant that cafes experienced long queues as consumers rushed to stock up ahead of any extra restrictions.

It also put an end to the so-called practice of ‘puff, puff pass’ as restrictions in cafes also meant no sharing joints between friends, and the introduction of social distancing left more consumers smoking alone.

No issues with supply were noticed, but some participants in the study did feel that the price of cannabis and hash had increased during this time.

Pandemic consumption studies

The study echoes other reports which have seen CBD and cannabis sales soar across the world during the pandemic and lockdowns.

Sales of CBD, in particular, have increased during the pandemic, especially online as lockdown increased the incidence of mental health issues.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists reported that some people experienced mental illness for the first time in 2020 as stress over job insecurity, isolation and bereavements grew.

In 2020, the CBD business, Purity Hemp Company has revealed a 600 per cent increase in their sales since the first lockdown began.

The company revealed that the most common reason that its customers relied on its CBD products were health management, with 70 per cent using CBD as a result of increased insomnia and anxiety.

The third reason for purchase was pain relief followed by improving focus at 50 per cent. A further 45 per cent of customers claimed recovery was their reason for purchasing CBD.

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