The COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep its way across the world. Current infection numbers and fatalities to date are just over 43 million infections and 1.153 million deaths. The USA has both the highest number of infections and deaths while the northern hemisphere countries like the UK, Italy, and France are battling to control a second wave of the virus.

While the world’s scientists are conducting numerous research studies to both understand the coronavirus’s aetiology and develop an effective vaccine, one of the only ways to control and prevent the virus’s rapid spread is by implementing social distancing or social isolation measures at a state or national level.

Why?

Succinctly stated, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is extremely contagious, and it spreads rapidly via person-to-person transmission. Secondly, because it’s a novel (or new) coronavirus, the human race has absolutely no immunity against it. Consequently, people have to stay away from each other to prevent it from spreading rapidly among communities of people who live, work, and interact socially with each other.

The mental health consequences of living through the global pandemic

Living through the global pandemic with its steady resurgence in the virus numbers in countries across the globe is hugely stressful and anxiety-inducing.

The article titled, “Mental health consequences of COVID-19: the next global pandemic,” correctly notes that “as the population is exposed to traumatic scenes due to… COVID-19, either in real life or through media from all over the planet, the emergence of mental disorders in vulnerable individuals is guaranteed.”

There is not yet much evidence of the mental health consequences specifically linked to COVID-19. But research studies conducted on the effect of other natural disasters and financial crises similar to the current pandemic and its associated socioeconomic challenges provide a reference point for the impact of the pandemic on the global population’s mental health and well-being.

This article by Jair de Jesus Mari and Maria A. Oquendo describes three generalised impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on the world’s communities, with the most common disorders seen after a “catastrophe are major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders.” Additionally, increases in alcohol and drug use are also seen in individuals traumatised by the virus.

  • The sudden and sometimes unexpected arrival of the virus leaving cities and regions deserted, bringing fear with it and triggering acute stress and anxiety reactions.
  • The subsequent need for quarantine or social distancing measures are necessary to prevent the virus’s rampant and often out-of-control spread. But it also brings with it long periods of confinement, loss of income, and routine changes. This leads to an increase in depression, anxiety, boredom, helplessness, and anger at the loss of freedom.
  • The economic losses that drive food insecurity and uncertainty over accommodation choices are responsible for turning acute stress into chronic stress, increasing the risk of increased mental health disorders.

Natural remedies to relieve stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic

One of the natural remedies that is increasing in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic is Cannabidiol or CBD.

Note: CBD does not have psychoactive properties like THC, the main ingredient in marijuana. It is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin to the marijuana plant. Natural CBD derived from EU-approved industrial hemp is legal in the UK; ergo, it does not contain any THC, which is a controlled substance in the UK.

The World Health Organization has this to say about CBD.

In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

CBD-derivative brands like VSAVI have many health benefits, some of which include an anxiolytic, treats insomnia and PTSD, helps reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis, and it inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

The CBD industry in the UK

According to the June 2019 report titled, “CBD in the UK,” consumer interest in CBD has grown exponentially. However, the report notes that it is difficult to gauge how popular CBD is in the UK. Finally, the report notes that the British CBD industry is the largest in Europe.

The orlandoweekly.com reports that the “number of CBD users jumped from 125 000 in 2017 to 250 000 in 2018.”

Therefore, the question that begs is, how many UK residents have started using CBD as a natural preparation to treat the depression, PTSD, insomnia, stress, and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic?

As highlighted above, the virus has not been around long enough for researchers to study the impact of the virus on the UK, and global, population. Consequently, the best answer to this question is a summation based on the facts gathered about other natural disasters, financial recessions, and catastrophic events.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased anxiety and depression in the UK. And the number of people using complementary medications is also growing. 2013 statistics report that over 80% of UK residents use complementary and alternative medicines.

Finally, it is reasonable to assume that because the pandemic is causing a significant increase in acute and chronic mental health challenges and the use of natural medicinal preparations is widely adopted by the UK, it stands to reason that the UK CBD market is set to increase for as long as the coronavirus is present.

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