With COVID-19 into the picture, humans are stuck with a lot of questions. Is it safe outside? Which sanitizer to buy? Or will there be a vaccine? These questions are ones that never occurred to us before because this pandemic brought forward a lot of concepts that have transformed our current reality possibly forever.
The cannabis industry is no stranger to these changes. From acquiring the status of an essential business to adapting the services to the new safety protocols, the change is apparent. But one question that caused a lot of stir among the cannabis consumers and sellers alike is the safety of cannabis delivery methods.
Like I said already, COVID-19 introduced us to things that have completely changed our understanding of the present. The cannabis industry was also introduced to the fact that cannabis consumption needs to be safe and free of smoke. This information rendered the method of smoking, vaping, dabbing and any other way of cannabis consumption that involves smoke, potentially unsafe. So if you can’t smoke, what is the safest way to consume cannabis during COVID-19? Let’s take a look.
Which is the Safe Way to Consume Medical Cannabis?
Is health your priority? Then move on from smoking if you can. And you don’t even have to worry about taking your dose. The best part about cannabis is that it can be consumed in dozens of different ways. So you can still find the medical benefits of cannabis but without risking your health.
So which is the safest delivery method during COVID-19? Honestly, anything that doesn’t involve smoke. We are aiming to reduce the health hazards of smoking so that our respiratory system is ready to fight anything while being on its best defense. So it’s time to take your dose using a smokeless method. Here are a few best options for you to choose from.
The first choice of cannabis delivery method after smoking are edibles. These are cannabis-infused ingestible products. Edibles are available in all possible varieties like food products such as brownies, popcorns, gummies etc, pills and beverages. You can even learn to make edibles at home but be very careful about the dose while cooking with cannabis.
Even while using edibles, make sure that you wash or sanitize your hand and even disinfect the packaging to avoid any exposure to the virus.
Topicals are the best choice for conditions that need localized relief like muscle spasms or back pain. Just apply it to the affected area and you will see the magic within minutes. Topicals are not the best choice for more serious conditions. So contact a professional to learn if topicals will suit your needs or not.
Cannabis patches have become a popular product recently. These are patches like band-aids that contain a specific amount of THC or CBD. Apply it on an area with thin skin like the lower abdomen or wrist and the patch will slowly deliver the cannabinoids directly into your bloodstream.
If you need quick relief, the sublingual route is the best option. You can try sublingual strips, sprays or tinctures to take your daily cannabis dose. These products use the sublingual route which means that you place the product under the tongue and wait for it to reach the bloodstream.
Why is smoking unsafe?
People who smoke cannabis may already be aware of the side effects and risks that come with it. But, those risks did not attain higher importance until today. Since the beginning of COVID-19, all medical professionals, including your medical marijuana doctor advise against inhaling smoke. Here’s why.
1. Lung Health
Smoke weakens your respiratory system, especially lungs. Smoking, vaping or dabbing involves the combustion of cannabis flower or concentrate. When you inhale, it’s not just the smoke that goes into your lungs. The white cloud also carries different chemicals, carcinogens, tar and plant material into your respiratory system. Some of these chemicals like the cannabinoids and terpenes are absorbed by your bloodstream to deliver therapeutic effects on the body. Other additional components are unwanted and irritate your air passages. This is why regular smokers often develop a consistent cough. These irritants also weaken the immune mechanisms of the lungs which make the consumer prone to several lung infections. Under such stress, contracting COVID-19 will only make things worse.
Based on the current information about COVID-19 infections, smoking is found to be a common fact among patients who are hospitalized with the virus or are facing complications. In fact, according to the American Lung Association, even occasional smoking can cause COVID-19 complications.
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Since SARS-CoV-2 affects the lungs, you need your lungs to be in the best shape to be able to fight the virus with full force. And smoking will take you in the opposite direction.
2. Cross Contamination
Another major risk associated with smoking cannabis is the high amount of hand to mouth contact. Your hands are all over the place. No matter how cautious you are, your hands may have touched things and surfaces without you paying attention. It’s possible that you may have contracted the virus on your hands. And with joint or other smoking rigs, your hands come in contact with your mouth thus exposing you to the virus.
3. Social Activity
One common aspect of cannabis that makes a smoker vulnerable to the virus is the cannabis etiquette of sharing and socializing. Though medical patients don’t generally socialize while using cannabis but if you do, you must refrain from it until the current pandemic subsides. Anyone can be infected with COVID-19 and may even be asymptomatic, so socializing or sharing your pipes or joints is a big no.
Since these methods involve no combustion or inhalation, you can be assured that these methods are safe for cannabis consumption during COVID-19. But even then, make sure that you are not socializing or sharing your stash with anyone. Also, follow proper hygiene protocols. Wash your hands and clean all frequently touched surfaces to avoid indirect contraction of the virus through your hands.
And most importantly, contact your MMJ doctor before shifting to any other delivery method. They will guide you about the best ways to use cannabis using your new method and also how to be safe.