Is Coronavirus Mainly Spread By Coughing? How MMJ Smokers Can Reduce Their Risk

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early months of 2020, many people have been affected by the disease. Roughly 103 million people have contracted the virus at the time of writing, with over two million of those people losing their lives to the disease. With the pandemic still in full effect across the globe, the worry of contracting the virus and experiencing severe complications is still at the top of everyone’s minds.

For those who take medical marijuana to help them cope with complications of chronic disease, that worry may be heightened, especially if the chosen method of ingestion is through smoking. But what effect does smoking medical marijuana have on COVID-19? And are those who take medical marijuana more at risk?

How is COVID-19 mainly transmitted?

There are many ways that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted from person to person. The biggest transmission risk is through droplets in the air. When a person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks, respiratory droplets are pushed out into the air. If someone breathes in infected droplets, they too now have the virus inside their body.

The droplets range in size from small (often referred to as aerosols, which can linger in the air) to large (which fall to the ground rapidly). This leads the assumption that larger droplets are less of a threat than smaller ones. Coughing can produce both large and small droplets, depending on their origin. If the droplets are produced in the larynx and then coughed into the air, they are likely smaller droplets, whereas droplets from the oral cavity while coughing will typically be larger.

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Image by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash: Could smoking medical marijuana put you more at risk for contracting COVID-19? 

Are smokers more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, smokers may be more vulnerable to contracting the virus, but not because of the effects that smoking has on the body. Smokers are likely more vulnerable because the act of smoking involves putting something to your mouth using your hands, which may be contaminated. This hand-to-mouth motion increases the likelihood of transmission of the virus.

Many people often smoke in social situations as well, which can lead to increased risk of transmission if sharing is occurring. For those who smoke medical marijuana, that social aspect is generally eliminated, and thus the risk of transmission is lower than those who smoke cigarettes or recreational marijuana.

How could smoking affect COVID-19?

Since smoking medical marijuana increases the risk of respiratory infection and complications, it could lead to worse outcomes if someone were to catch the virus. The smoking of cannabis can damage the lungs, and since COVID-19 is a lung infection, this can lead to more severe symptoms. Some research has also suggested that THC may have the ability to alter the efficacy of the immune system, which could make it harder for someone to fight off a COVID-19 infection.

However, other studies have found contradictory results when it comes to cannabis and immunosuppression. Other research has also found that the use of CBD can actually reduce complications and severe symptoms in those with COVID-19. The information is not conclusive, though, and more studies are needed to determine the accuracy of the study’s findings. It also wasn’t clear in the study whether CBD was taken via smoking.

Alternate MMJ dosing methods

The use of medical marijuana via smoking may be some patients’ first choice of ingestion method. But due to the repercussions it can have on lung health, and taking into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, some may wish to change out how they ingest MMJ. The good news is that there are plenty of dosing methods available for those who require medical marijuana to deal with their chronic conditions.

The first alternative that’s most like smoking is vaporizing. The process is similar, but using a vaporizer involves the inhalation of vapor instead of smoke. It’s not clear whether or not vapor is a healthy alternative to smoking in this instance, though.

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Image by Sarah Takforyan on Unsplash: Medical marijuana has many dosing methods, including edible gummies.

Methods that don’t include any inhalation, which may be good options for those wishing to change their dosing method, include eating MMJ, topical application, or oils. Edible medical marijuana can be ingested through various types of foods such as gummy candies or baked goods. Topical marijuana provides the dose by applying it to the skin, and oils are ingested by placing the appropriate dose under the tongue until it dissolves in the mouth.

Each method will come with different wait times to feel its effects. For example, someone who smokes medical marijuana will likely feel the effects minutes following ingestion, whereas an edible dose can take up to two hours.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people may wish to do everything they can for their health to ensure that if they do contract the virus, they have a fighting chance of a full recovery. For those who take medical marijuana, this means staying the course in your treatment and opting for a different dosing method if you are worried about the risks that smoking may cause.

Featured image by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

Are MMJ Smokers More At Risk From COVID-19? (And 5 Alternative Ways To Dose)

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.

Is CV19 a respiratory illness?

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.

Are smokers at risk of developing more serious 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.

 

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Image by CDC on Unsplash: Does HCoV-19 affect your lungs? Yes – so it’s possible that smokers are at higher risk.

 

Are MMJ smokers more at risk from COVID-19?

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.

Should I stop smoking my medical marijuana during the COV-19 pandemic?

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.

What are some alternative ways to dose MMJ?

If you’re unfamiliar with alternate ways to ingest your MMJ products, here’s a rundown of a few options.

1. Edibles

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.

2. Teas

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.

3. Tinctures

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.

 

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Image by Margo Amala on Unsplash: Anything from an edible (like a cookie) to an ingestible oil can be an alternative MMJ dosing method.

4. Ingestible oils

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.

5. Topicals

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.

Featured image by Dimitri Bong on Unsplash

What’s The Best THC Level For Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana has a lot of benefits. But before you dive headfirst into the world of MMJ, it’s a good idea to know what to be on the lookout for. Perhaps one of the biggest questions people have is “What’s the best THC level for medical marijuana?”. But before that question can be answered, you must first understand what THC is, how it works, and what effects it can have on you and the condition you want to treat. Here’s all you need to know about THC and medical marijuana to get you started.

What is THC?

THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s the chemical accountable for most of the psychological effects of medical marijuana. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, your body makes its own cannabinoid chemicals, and these are the chemicals that THC most closely acts like in the body.

THC is one of several compounds that can be found in the resin secreted by marijuana plants. Other compounds, called cannabinoids, are also found in the resin. CBD is another popular cannabinoid you may have heard of. It’s non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t produce the same effects on the brain as THC.

How Does THC Work?

In your brain, cannabinoid receptors are dispersed throughout certain areas of the brain, clustered together most densely in the parts of the brain associated with time perception, pleasure, thinking, coordination, and memory. When you take medical marijuana, the THC in it attaches to these receptors, activating them and impacting your movement, coordination, sensory perception, pleasure, and concentration.

 

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Image by Margo Amala on Unsplash: Wondering how to dose THC for MMJ? It depends on how you’re consuming it!

 

What Do Higher Levels of THC Mean?

The medical marijuana grown today is as potent as ever. In many strains of MMJ, THC potency can be around 20%, with some even as high as 30%. Considering that in the 1980s the potency of marijuana was around 2%, this is a pretty big leap.

In low doses, THC creates a euphoric state. If you take too much, you can experience some negative side effects such as anxiety and memory impairment. In fact, too much THC can even mitigate the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana, so it’s important to understand that less is definitely more when considering THC dosing for therapeutic and medicinal effects.

What’s the Best Dose for THC?

When considering how to dose THC for MMJ, microdosing is often recommended. This is when you start small and work your way up to a dose that has the effects you desire, such as pain relief, but without some of the side effects of higher doses of THC, such as anxiety.

To microdose, all you need to do is start with a small dose, such as one hit from a vape pen. Wait at least ten minutes and think about how you feel. If you think you need more, take another hit. Microdosing is a great way to figure out what dose is therapeutic for you.

 

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Image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash: What is THC? It’s in the resin produced by the flowers of the marijuana plant.

 

Which MMJ Strains Have the Highest THC Levels?

Different strains of medical marijuana have different amounts of THC in them. Often, you simply need to ask the dispensary where you purchase your MMJ what the percentage of THC is, if it’s not already clearly marked. If you get a strain with a high THC level and find that it’s not producing the desired medicinal effects, try a strain with a lower THC percentage or a higher percentage of CBD. If you don’t feel any impact from what you take, then that’s a good indication that you should choose a strain with a higher dose of THC.

What’s the Best THC Level for Medical Marijuana?

THC levels are subjective. That’s because everyone reacts just a little bit differently to THC, making it a unique experience for each person. As long as you start with a small dose and work your way up, as discussed above, you can easily find the range that suits you best and helps to address your medical concerns.

Remember that different products can affect you differently, too. Edibles may produce a different reaction at a different THC level than medical marijuana that is smoked. You should always read the label of any MMJ product you buy to see what the recommended dose is. Start off slow with a quarter to one half of the recommended dose the first time you take it and wait patiently for the effects to kick in, bearing in mind that it can take up to one hour.

If you’re ready to learn more about what medical marijuana can do for you, then let MMJRecs help you get your medical marijuana card so you can begin!

Featured image by Christina Winter on Unsplash

Dosing A Patient With MMJ: A Primary Caregiver’s Guide

Being a caregiver to a medical marijuana patient is a big responsibility. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that you’re doing it to the best of your ability, which involves educating yourself on the proper dosage and ways to administer MMJ in order to treat various ailments. It may sound complicated, but MMJRecs is here to help! Here is a primary caregiver’s guide to medical marijuana to help you feel confident and knowledgeable in your MMJ duties.

How Much Medical Marijuana Should I Give My Patient?

One of the most important things to remember about being an MMJ caregiver is that it’s best to start slow and go low. While medical marijuana offers a large array of benefits to those who suffer from certain medical conditions, the effects of marijuana may not be immediately felt. Plus, everyone responds just a bit differently to MMJ strengths, which is why it’s essential to start slow with a low dose to see how it impacts the patient and helps to manage their symptoms.

Medical marijuana has a wide safety margin. There’s a low risk of overdose, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use caution until you know how the MMJ will impact the patient. Measuring medical cannabis doses for patients accurately is very important – remember, the dosage can vary widely between people, even if they have the same condition. Responses to dosages can vary due to a patient’s other medical conditions, how they consumed the MMJ, and the THC and CBD concentrations of the product they consumed.

The answer to the question “How do I know how much MMJ to give my patient?” depends entirely on the patient. Talk to their doctor to see if they can recommend a starting dosage. As stated above, start with a low dose and go from there. Keep a log that tracks how much was given and the effects felt by the patient. This can help you determine if you need to up the dose.

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Image by Margo Amala on Unsplash: Edible marijuana is a popular way to help patients get the proper does of MMJ.

How to Dose a Patient with Medical Marijuana

There are a variety of ways to dose a medical marijuana patient. Make sure the method you’re using is legal in your state by checking with the MMJ regulating body. Once you have that sorted out, the most popular ways to dose include:

Oral

This is when medical marijuana is administered through the mouth, where it will absorb through the mucous membranes into the body’s circulation. Relevant products include spays and oils that are placed under the tongue for absorption. With oral dosing, it can take about 15 to 40 minutes for the impact to be felt and the effects can be experienced for up to two hours.

Inhalation

This is a very popular method of consumption but may not be the best choice for everyone, depending on their medical condition. That’s because it involves marijuana being vaporized and then inhaled directly into the lungs. Handheld vaporizers or disposable vaporizers are widely available. With inhalation, the effects of medical marijuana are felt almost immediately or within a few minutes. The effects peak after about 30 minutes, but the patient may still feel effects for up to 12 hours.

Ingestion

Ingestion is another popular method of dosing a patient with medical marijuana. This is where you eat the MMJ and it enters the bloodstream after being broken down in the digestive system. Patients start to feel the effects of the MMJ within 30 to 120 minutes and can expect it to last up to eight hours.

Topical

Ointments, lotions, patches, and balms are available for dosing MMJ, too. They are placed directly on the skin in the place where it is needed to help a patient deal with symptoms. The onset of the effects of MMJ when topically applied can be felt right away or take up to one hour. Patients can expect the effects to last up to two hours with most products, through transdermal patches can last up to 12 hours.

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Image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash: How much medical marijuana should I give my patient? MMJ doses vary by patient, depending on what they are being treated for.

How Medical Marijuana Can Help

There are a variety of conditions that medical marijuana can assist in managing. In many states, medical marijuana is given to treat everything from muscle spasms to epilepsy to chronic pain. MMJ is useful in the treatment of many conditions because of the cannabinoids present. These chemicals are very similar to chemicals produced by the body that are involved in regulating pain, movement, memory, and appetite.

One of the primary uses of MMJ is to help cancer patients, especially those going through rounds of chemotherapy and suffering nausea and vomiting as a result. Studies have found that inhaling MMJ helps cancer patients to better manage pain and keep their appetites up.

Chronic pain is another issue that medical marijuana helps many patients with. MMJ that is inhaled, applied topically, or consumed orally has been shown in studies to help relieve pain from nerve damage and arthritis.

Stay Current

Being an MMJ caregiver is something many people excel at. If you’re one of them, don’t forget to keep your medical marijuana card current. MMJRecs can help you to always ensure that your MMJ card is legal, renewing your card each year quickly and easily so you can devote your time where it’s needed most: to your patients.

Featured image by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash