The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has prompted global measures yet has killed hundreds of thousands, with the number continuing to grow. Here’s what you need to know about marijuana and the coronavirus.
How Marijuana Users Can Protect Themselves From Coronavirus
Don’t Share Marijuana
Unfortunately, it’s no longer safe to pass your joint, blunt, pipe, bong, dab rig, or vape pen to your friends. For now, it’s better to carry your own cannabis tools around and greet each other with an elbow bump or a friendly wave.
Wash Your Hands
Before engaging in any cannabis consumption activity, it’s crucial to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Respiratory viruses, like the coronavirus or the flu, can be spread by our hands. Hands can easily become magnets for viral particles. If soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is an alternative.
Sanitize Your Bong
If someone who is diagnosed with coronavirus or who has respiratory symptoms uses your bong, pipe, or other smoking accessory, sanitize it before you use it again!
First, clean your smoking accessory using your preferred method. Be sure to get out all the sticky resin, where germs can hide. After your piece is clean, sanitize it with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Fill the piece with alcohol, cover all openings, and shake it for several minutes to sanitize. Afterwards, rinse your piece with clean water.
Don’t submerge electronic smoking accessories in alcohol; that can damage electronic parts. Instead, change out the cartridge and clean the mouthpiece and any other parts with 91% isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab. You can finish it off with antibacterial soap and a clean water rinse.
Practice Physical Distancing
Many countries are practicing physical distancing to reduce the risk of passing along the virus. Ideally, staying at home is the best way to reduce the spread. However, working from home isn’t an option for everyone.
If you absolutely must go out, try to limit the trips outside your home. Need to pick up groceries? Plan your meals for the week, so you can make a single trip per week. When outside, maintain a distance of six feet between yourself and others.
For now, avoid large crowds at all costs. The more you are around others of a different household, the higher the risk is of contracting the coronavirus. To be safe, avoid parties, celebrations, and other holiday events with people of different households.
Most dispensaries and cannabis manufacturers are putting policies in place to keep sick employees out of the workplace. If you’re still worried, here are some steps you can take:
- Check your dispensary’s website or give them a call to see what their policies are for sanitizing work areas and sick employees.
- Buy pre-packaged marijuana flower if possible—cannabis in open jars will be exposed to multiple customers and budtenders, making it more of a risk.
- Take advantage of delivery or pre-paid pickup services.
- Buy in bulk. If possible, make sure you have at least a month’s worth of cannabis products. Buying large quantities also reduces the number of trips to the dispensary, thereby, reducing your risk of contracting COVID-19.
- For peace of mind, disinfect your cannabis packaging and the surface you placed it on with a strong disinfectant. Wash your hands before and after disinfecting the product.
Do Your Research
As the hype around CBD builds, companies are now claiming to produce products that can be a treatment for symptoms associated with respiratory conditions including coronavirus symptoms. These claims are flat out false and dangerous. There is no definitive research on CBD and coronavirus.
As the coronavirus has raged on, researchers have discovered ways in which cannabis may be able to help treat symptoms related to the coronavirus. However, some health experts believe that cannabis can do more harm than good in certain cases.
Smoking cannabis may increase your risk for severe COVID-19 complications. First, smoking cannabis can be a confounding variable for healthcare workers trying to make a diagnosis. Chronic cannabis smoking may cause lung damage, which can increase the risk for severe damage from COVID-19.
Using Cannabis While You Have COVID
Smoking cannabis introduces hot smoke into your already irritated lungs when you’ve contracted a virus. That’s not something you want. THC and CBD have been shown to have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and sleep-inducing characteristics, but smoking can defeat the purpose. Instead, try infusing cannabis into foods good for the flu or cold.
Take Precautions Around Others
Modifications to your everyday life can help curb the spread of coronavirus. Health experts recommend people stop shaking hands. Instead, a friendly wave or greeting can suffice. Self-quarantine isn’t necessary yet. Healthy individuals should take simple precautions when interacting with other people in public spaces.
Wear a Mask
If you venture outside of your home and you’re in a high-risk and crowded area, always wear a face mask. Face masks help stop the spread of the virus. Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others or when you're with people who live in your household. Always follow local mask mandates while out in public. Even if you do wear a mask, you should still practice social distancing.
Know The Symptoms
Be aware of the COVID-19 symptoms before you head to the emergency room. COVID-19 symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. People who have been in contact with a coronavirus patient or traveled recently to an area with ongoing spread should also be checked by a physician.
Have A Plan
People with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 symptoms should closely follow the CDC’s recommendation for these cases. Some people may choose a work-from-home option or a complete quarantine to avoid infecting others in the household.
How Does COVID-19 Affect The Cannabis Industry?
Cannabis industry insiders don’t expect the coronavirus’ import delays to affect the supply of cannabis itself. Legal states operate within their own jurisdiction meaning they produce their own marijuana without the need to import any from other states.
Other cannabis product sectors may be affected, however. Vape batteries and wholesale vape cartridges are produced in China. Due to the infection’s presence in China and the subsequent quarantines, the supply chains for these products have slowed down.
The United States imports about 30 million vape pens and cartridges from China every month. Shipments of these products stopped due to the Chinese New Year closedown in the middle of January and haven’t returned to normal due to COVID-19.
Dan Fung, CEO of American Made Vapes told Leafly, “a supply pinch is coming in weeks and will persist for months. Prices will rise. Shortages of packaging and vape pens could occur.”
Many packaging supplies for the marijuana industry come from Chinese companies. A delay in shipments could prompt a diminished production in legal states. Novel cannabis products can be slow to come out as well due to the delay in wholesale products from China.
Cannabis Businesses are Essential
Many cities and states declared cannabis dispensaries as essential businesses early in the pandemic. Cannabis dispensaries received the recognition they deserve over the last nine months, especially for medicinal users. Government officials recognize the importance the plant has in many of their constituents’ lives.
Many states have even broken sales records during the pandemic. If it weren't for being declared essential, who knows how many businesses would have made it.
Of course, there were also layoffs and shutdowns which affected cannabis businesses. Cannabis businesses do not receive federal stimulus assistance due to federal restrictions. Those in the west coast of the U.S. affected by wildfires were especially hard-hit.
All in all, the cannabis industry has proved itself to be pandemic-proof for the time being.
How Will Coronavirus Affect 4/20 Celebrations?
It’s not a matter of if the coronavirus will affect 4/20 events, but how it will affect these events. Event organizers in other industries developed best practices for dealing with COVID-19 and those in the cannabis industry will hopefully utilize their planning.
Cannabis companies are holding off on booking food trucks and other event services for their 4/20 events over health concerns. Ultimately, areas of ongoing spread will be the most affected. Major mainstream festivals are already rescheduling events in the spring for the fall.
How Will COVID-19 Affect Legalization Campaigns?
As coronavirus concerns spread to more cities, more event cancellations will come. Large gatherings of any kind will reduce turnout at commercial centers and drive down the number of people outside. Reduced pedestrian traffic could affect the ability of signature gatherers of legalization initiatives to get enough signatures to qualify before a deadline.
Cannabis Training University’s 2020 legalization initiative blog post gives you the breakdown of all the state legalization efforts aiming to make the November 2020 ballot.
Update: Check out our Election 2020: Cannabis Legalization Wrap-Up blog post covering the 5 states that legalized cannabis during the November 2020 election.
Handling Coronavirus Anxiety with Cannabis
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to stay indoors to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. However, this self-isolation has led to increased anxiety and boredom in many users.
Now, with so many people stuck at home, they may be going through their supply quicker than they would if they were at work or school. Add to that the economic insecurity and medical issues that can occur during the pandemic.
In today's health-conscious world, cannabis and CBD are being used as natural ways to improve people's mental well-being.
CBD, in particular, has been shown to affect stress and emotional responses by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. It may be helpful for general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
CBD may help manage anxiety through a variety of forms including oils, edibles, extracts, and vaporizers. However, health experts warn people against smoking cannabis and vaping if you have a respiratory disease.
If you're not too keen on smoking or vaping, you can choose from a variety of CBD products. Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
- Tinctures can provide fast-acting and long-lasting relief, especially when administered sublingually.
- Capsules are pre-dosed, so you know exactly how much you're taking every time.
- CBD gummies are delicious and microdosable products for anytime use.
How to Self-Isolate with Cannabis
If you're stuck at home with a limited number of activities available, this may be the best time to pick up some new hobbies. Start growing your own cannabis plants and making your own cannabis edibles can topicals for personal use.
Grow Buds and Make Edibles
Growing your own cannabis is a rewarding and productive experience. Now's the time to make sure you know exactly what's going into your weed. Check out our guides on how to germinate seeds, use organic ingredients, and get your indoor garden started.
We also teach you how to make your own cannabis butter and oil to create intoxicating meals and edibles.
Pass the Time
We get it. You're getting cabin fever and you want a change of pace. If you're looking for entertainment and education, check out these resources:
- 7 must-watch cannabis documentaries on Netflix
- 15 cannabis books to improve your knowledge
- How to consume cannabis while meditating
For more up-to-date information about developments in the marijuana industry and the latest marijuana news, follow Cannabis Training University’s blog and sign up for our online cannabis college to take your learning to the next level.