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As the situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic develops, all of us are trying to determine how it affects our day-to-day lives. The pandemic might be affecting your work schedule, your family time, and your social life. But you might also be interested in the situation with coronavirus and medical marijuana patients. Of course, things are changing daily as more information is shared and recommendations are made, but here’s everything MMJ patients need to know about CV19 at this time.
The word “coronavirus” refers to a group of viruses rather than one particular illness. There are several different strains of coronavirus, the newest of which is responsible for the current outbreak. It was officially named “COVID-19” in February by the World Health Organization (WHO). The abbreviation comes from CO for corona, VI for virus, D for disease, and 19 since the first outbreak occurred in 2019.
COVID-19 is an upper-respiratory-tract illness that was not seen in humans before 2019. It’s believed at this time to have originated in Wuhan, China, but has now spread to many other parts of the globe. The hardest-hit areas seem to be Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and the United States (although cases are present in many other countries).
The main symptoms of COVID-19 seem to appear within two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus. They generally include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. The elderly and people with pre-existing conditions (especially those affecting the heart, lungs, or kidneys) are all at a higher risk than the rest of the population. This is likely because their immune systems are weaker, so it’s harder for their bodies to fight off the infection.
Researchers believe COVID-19 is primarily passed from person to person through close contact. It’s spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes; the droplets can then end up in the mouths or noses of a nearby person or can be inhaled into their lungs. It’s possible that a person can contract the virus by touching a surface or object that has been touched by an infected person and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. People are thought to be the most contagious when they are showing symptoms (or when they’re the sickest); however, it is possible for some spread to occur before people begin exhibiting symptoms.
A pandemic occurs when a disease has spread across a large region, such as multiple continents or worldwide. Because COVID-19 has appeared in a variety of countries, it is now considered a pandemic, which means that steps need to be taken to prevent further exposure. Restrictions on travel have been implemented to try to prevent and/or slow down the virus from spreading.
If you’re a person who uses medical marijuana, you could be affected by the spread of COVID-19 in several different ways. Because of the fear associated with COVID-19, many people have begun to stockpile their MMJ products. Every state differs in the amount that’s allowable for MMJ patients to have at any one time. Some states, such as Massachusetts, are allowing their patients to purchase up to a 60-day supply so that they’ll have enough product in case of an extended quarantine. You should have no problem at least getting two weeks’ worth if you need to do a 14-day self-isolation. To make sure you’re still in compliance, look up your individual state’s regulations before you purchase large quantities of MMJ products.
This is the trickier problem for MMJ patients to navigate because there’s so much unknown right now. Most suppliers don’t have a very clear idea of what will happen to their stock in the near future. Some dispensaries and distributors are running out of product because people have stockpiled in a panic. Many companies have noticed significant boosts in sales because of the outbreak. Some people are also stocking up because they believe it might be easier to get MMJ products than their prescription medications (in case shipments are stopped from other parts of the world). It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to buy a little bit more than normal to avoid running out of your product.
Because of social distancing (and some stores having to close temporarily in lockdown areas), many marijuana companies are offering curbside pickup of products so you can avoid being around people. There are other delivery companies that offer door-to-door service, so you don’t even have to leave your house during the pandemic. Each state’s regulations regarding selling MMJ products are different too, but you’ll probably be able to find at least one practical way to get your MMJ while still practicing social distancing or a self-quarantine.
At this time, it’s unclear if MMJ patients will be prioritized over recreational users. It’s likely that each state will try to ensure patients have access to their medicine, but there isn’t anything set in stone at the moment. An MMJ advocacy group called Americans for Safe Access is currently proposing that officials take immediate action to ensure that MMJ patients have access to products during this time. Typically, states allow MMJ patients to own more product than recreational users anyway, even if they don’t end up getting prioritized.
If you’re wondering, “Should I stop smoking during COV19?”, the answer is complicated. If you’re completely symptom-free, there shouldn’t be much harm in smoking MMJ or using other products such as edibles. However, if you’re sick (whether it’s just a cold or a case of COVID-19), smoking can be harmful. Inhaling hot smoke can irritate your lungs and make your symptoms worse. If you’re sick, you can try other methods of dosing if you feel it’s still necessary to use MMJ products to help ease or alleviate other symptoms you’re having. Bottom line: always talk to your physician about using MMJ products, especially if you’re sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
We’re all learning how to cope with coronavirus every day. Your best bet is to be cautious about your MMJ usage – only use it if you have your doctor’s OK, and try to keep a somewhat larger stash at home in case of a quarantine. It might take a little more effort to purchase your product, but ordering from a delivery service or through curbside pickup might help you implement social distancing measures while still allowing you to have access to the MMJ products you need.