Folks all over the United States are stuck spending most of their days indoors and without social contact, thanks to the novel COVID-19 virus or “Coronavirus” outbreak. Needless to say, a lot of them are helping to pass the time and ease stress by getting high.
But is consuming marijuana during this time actually a good idea? Some states like Washington and Colorado that have deemed dispensaries “essential businesses” are already seeing economic benefits. Meanwhile, others are looking toward potential health benefits during this time.
Beneficial Effects of Cannabis During Quarantine
The cannabis plant has long been used by humans for its health benefits. Specifically when consuming cannabinoids (THC and CBD), positive effects have been found in the areas of mental health and pain management.
The high unemployment rate and varying predictions of when the Coronavirus crisis will be over has correlated with rising rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. A Washington State University study found that just one “puff” of marijuana significantly reduced symptoms of depression, especially it the particular product was high in CBD and low in THC. However, the same study also found that twice as much consumption of any type of cannabis significantly reduced the effects of anxiety, while several “puffs” or more of marijuana products high in both CBD and THC were best for general stress.
Some doctors also believe that CBD in particular can have some surprising benefits when it comes to our body’s ability to keep itself healthy and fight off illnesses.
“CBD can help strengthen one’s immune system by controlling stress, which can be one of the biggest factors that can impair your immune system,” naturopathic physician Dr. Jen Palmer said in an interview with The Weed Blog. “CBD can really help produce a sense of calm.”
In an interview with CNN, pulmonologist and Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association Dr. Albert Rizzo pointed out that there are some risks people should consider before smoking marijuana:
“It causes some degree of inflammation, very similar to bronchitis, very similar to the type of inflammation that cigarette smoking can cause,” Rizzo stated. “Now you have some airway inflammation and you get an infection on top of it. So, yes, your chance of getting more complications is there.”
The risks of smoking appear even more serious when considering that the infectious COVID-19 illness primarily affecting the lungs. Because of this anyone considered at high-risk for the illness should think twice about smoking marijuana or any other inhaled substance. On the other hand, this information means that the risks may be significantly decreased when consuming marijuana in edible form.
How to Consume Marijuana Safely
In addition to opting for edibles over smoke-able forms of cannabis, other precautions can be taken to make sure it is being consumed safely. Only smaller dosages (between 5g and 10g to start) of the plant should be consumed at a time, without alcohol and other substances. Staying hydrated and not consuming edibles on an empty stomach is also advised. And it should go without saying — do not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of marijuana.
For those concerned with the sugars and fats that may be in candy or baked-good edible products, oils and tinctures are a good alternative. For those who still prefer to smoke, vaporizers may help cut down on the carcinogens that can come with inhaled products.