Staying Stoned Safely During the Quarantine

You need to stop sharing all blunts, bongs, and joints.

By Brian Carlton

Art by David Icke Turner

As of Tuesday morning, there were 178,998 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States. Governors have shut down businesses, closed public spaces and in some areas, ordered residents to stay at home in order to keep the virus contained. For cannabis users, this means a complete change in not just in how you buy, but how you share the material as well. 

Is it safe to consume cannabis right now? Can the virus affect the plant and more importantly, if you’re infected, how does it interact with cannabis in your system? Right now it’s perfectly understandable to have a ton of questions about this situation. Let’s see if we can offer you some answers. 

Building A Quarantine Checklist

There’s a very real chance that you’ll be quarantined at home for at least 30 days, regardless of where you live. More states are taking that precaution and it means there will likely be delays in getting your shipments of cannabis. Partly, that’s due to the sheer number of orders coming through. For example, Ganja Goddess Delivers in California told Leafly they’re seeing a 50 percent spike over last month’s sales. But if you can’t buy it in person and your delivery options are limited, what should you do? Leafly’s cannabis experts advise buying in bulk. At least purchase a two-week supply, they recommend. But as things keep changing, they also point out it’s likely a good idea to buy enough for a full month. If that’s not an option due to a lack of money, you could always go the DIY route. That means using recommendations like these to create your own extracts and edibles. 

Now when it comes to finding supplies, the number one question is what shops are still open? Is your local dispensary taking orders? There’s not a one size fits all answer for this one. Each order handed down by state governors is unique, as they define essential services differently. For example, medical cannabis dispensaries are still open for business across Arkansas and Arizona with no restrictions. If you’re not sure what’s open, this finder can help narrow down which businesses are still operating. 

Taking Safety Precautions

Don’t believe everything the memes tell you. Cannabis can’t cure coronavirus. There have been no studies, tests or other material produced to prove CBD or cannabis overall offers any type of “protection” against infection. With that being said, you need to take safety precautions when consuming cannabis, especially with friends. 

It’s that last part we want to focus on. In order to stay safe, you need to stop sharing all blunts, bongs and joints. The virus spreads through shared fluids, mainly from your nose and mouth. If an infected person coughs on a bong and then passes it over, wiping it off won’t help. The virus is in every drop of spit or saliva that your friend just coughed all over the bong. Don’t believe us? The World Health Organization goes into more detail here. 

Beyond sticking to your own supply, you need to wash your hands. We know, you’ve likely heard that since you were a kid, but it turns out mom and dad knew what they were talking about. When it comes to this virus, soap is one of the only things known to kill it. Soap breaks down a virus and literally removes it from your body when it’s in small doses. Now if you’ve reached a full-blown infection, there’s just too much of the virus for soap to eliminate. That’s why it’s important to wash with soap on a regular basis, especially right now. 

Is It Safe To Smoke? 

Yes, it’s safe to smoke cannabis or consume edibles during the outbreak. But that answer comes with a few warnings. First off, if you’ve got a cough or cold, now may not be the best time to smoke. If your throat and lungs are already irritated by even a tiny virus like the common cold, you’re not going to feel better by smoking. Beyond just further irritating your lungs, smoking when your immune system is already weak can open the door to a COVID-19 infection. It’s because cannabis has immune-system suppressing properties. Now normally, that’s not a bad thing, as it can help lower a person’s fever. But as several doctors explain, inhaled cannabis can prolong a current infection or lower defenses toward others. 

“Inhalation of particulate matter-whether due to cigarettes, marijuana, coal burning, stove burning or pollution- has always led to diminished lung function and increased susceptibility to lung infections,” Dr. Laura Crotty Alexander said in an interview with Leafly. She added that any stress on the system makes the body more susceptible to COVID-19. With that in mind, most people are switching to edibles, at least until the pandemic is over.

Watch For Symptoms 

Overall, the goal is to just take precautions during the pandemic. We’re not suggesting you rush out to the emergency room if you start to cough, but if you start showing all of the symptoms, then it’s time to visit the hospital. They include having shortness of breath or trouble breathing, a dry cough and a fever over 101. Right now health officials ask that you call your regular doctor if possible, before going to the hospital. Describe your symptoms and he or she will be able to determine if you need to visit the ER. 

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