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Now that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has seemingly take hold of the whole world, it can be tricky to know whether all the things you’re hearing about it are factual. You probably have tons of questions surrounding COVID-19, including, “Are medical marijuana patients at risk from coronavirus?” Keep reading to find out more about how you might be affected as a medical marijuana (MMJ) user, and for suggestions on how to dose MMJ without smoking.
COVID-19 is an upper-respiratory-tract illness. Its symptoms include a dry cough, shortness of breath, and a fever. The disease is spread through person-to-person contact. If an infected person coughs or sneezes close to you, respiratory droplets can transfer to your nose or mouth or can be inhaled into your lungs. People are considered to be the most contagious when their symptoms are at their worst; however, the infection can still be spread to other people even if the person is not exhibiting obvious symptoms.
Because the virus is so new (it only appeared in humans for the first time last year), research is still being conducted towards fully understanding its effects. However, in general, smoking or vaping can lead to suppressed immune function in the lungs and an increase of inflammation. Smokers, vapers, and e-cigarette users have all already been associated with a heightened risk of developing chronic lung conditions. In turn, individuals with chronic lung conditions have also been noted to have more severe symptoms after contracting COVID-19, according to some early research out of China. Therefore, it’s easy to make the connection that smokers are likely more at risk of catching the virus and of having more severe symptoms.
There aren’t any definitive studies to show that MMJ smokers are more at risk of catching COVID-19, but it makes sense to assume that inhaling any hot smoke could be damaging to your lungs (especially if they are impacted by coronavirus or even just a regular cold). Smoking tobacco is likely much worse for your lungs because of the many chemicals and harmful ingredients, but smoking MMJ might not be a whole lot better for your lung health.
Because there isn’t enough proof to definitively state that smoking MMJ is dangerous during the spread of COVID-19, you might want to err on the side of caution and refrain from smoking until there have been more studies conducted to rule it out as a danger. There are several different ways you can dose MMJ without smoking or vaping it, so why not just play it safe and try those instead? As we all discover the effects of the coronavirus together, doing all you can to avoid catching it is a good thing.
If you’re unfamiliar with alternate ways to ingest your MMJ products, here’s a rundown of a few options.
Cannabis-infused foods are one of the most popular ways patients consume their medical marijuana. Most dispensaries carry everything from cannabis brownies and chocolate bars to gummies and mints. Plus, because you can purchase cannabis butter or oil, you can infuse lots of different foods yourself. This can be a great way to get your MMJ dose without smoking. However, it’s important to note that edibles can take a while to kick in (because they have to be digested), so don’t be tempted to eat more if you don’t feel the effects right away. Some edibles might have an even stronger psychoactive effect, so it’s important not to overdo it.
There are lots of different beverages on the market with marijuana in them. You can try fun options like lemonade or cold-brew coffee, or stick to a slightly healthier choice like tea. You can infuse tea at home with THC as well if you’d like to experiment with your own brewing.
Tinctures are infused liquids that extract cannabis compounds using an alcohol soak. They’re then applied directly under your tongue. Tinctures are very fast-acting since they enter the bloodstream immediately. This means they’re a great option for quick relief and can be easier to control the dose. There are also tons of flavors and potencies available, so it should be fairly easy for you to find a product that works for your needs. There are ways you can make your own tinctures at home too. If you’re experiencing loss of appetite or nausea, tinctures can be an easy way to get your MMJ dose without having to eat something.
Basically, ingestible oils are any cannabis concentrate that you can consume orally. Many come in pill form (in capsules or plastic applicators), which means you can swallow them or add them to your food or drinks. Similar to edibles, ingestible oils can take a little while to kick in, so you have to be careful about the dose you’re consuming.
Topicals are marijuana-infused body products such as lotions or balms. They’re applied directly to the skin for help with pain, soreness, or inflammation. They typically don’t produce a psychoactive effect, so they can be a good option if you need to skip the feeling of being high. They won’t work for everyone’s medical conditions, but for localized relief, they can be helpful.
Ingesting MMJ instead of smoking or vaping it can mean that its effects might not be present as quickly as when you smoke. Therefore, it might take some experimentation to determine the most effective products or strains to help best treat your medical condition. Also, be sure to pay attention to the THC level in all the products you’re consuming so that you’re aware exactly how much you’re putting into your body. Check with your doctor if you’re considering switching to a higher dose of THC in your cannabis products.
As long as we’re unclear about the true effect of smoking on the likelihood of catching COVID-19, it seems like a good idea to play it safe and consume MMJ products in another fashion. Everyone should be doing all they can to avoid infection, so try out an alternative dosing method while we learn more about the virus and its effects.