How Cannabis Users Can Prevent Coronavirus
Here’s how cannabis users can prevent Coronavirus spread. COVID-19 poses a significant disruption to our daily routines. As of September 27, 2020, there are 7.1M confirmed cases in the U.S., with 204K deaths from the virus. Although the public, for the most part, has finally warmed to the reality of a need to take precautions against spreading the virus, there are signs we may see a significant increase in cases this fall. Coronavirus has been with us for almost a year now, yet we are searching for answers as to how to fight it. There is still much we do not know about it. Admittedly, we know even less about any interaction between cannabis and Coronavirus. What we do know about it warrants practice of getting back to the basics to prevent its spread.
Avoid Large Crowds
Most of America is adjusting to the new normal forced on us by this viral pandemic. We have paid a heavy price for canceling schools, large gatherings, cultural events, and our beloved sporting events. These closures are necessary as older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions are at higher risk. Black Americans are dying at disproportionately higher rates than other Americans. If you use marijuana and have diabetes, heart, or lung disease, you risk developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. We are now struggling with reopening these venues amid confusing, and often contradictory government guidance. We still encourage you to avoid crowds as much as possible. Bars, events with more than 500 people such as religious services and sporting venues, movie theaters, or gyms are likely places to catch COVID. Generally keeping away from groups of greater than 10 people unless absolutely necessary is still solid advice.
Healthy Tips for Marijuana Users
Cannabis users tend to be quite laid back, 'go with the flow' types. As such, our puff-puff-pass culture creates an excellent way to spread any virus, including Coronavirus. The sharing of joints, vapes, pipes, blunts, and bongs put us at higher risk. Until the COVID-19 threat passes, I recommend not sharing your weed supply, and not using anyone else's. If they give you the side-eye, give them a friendly elbow bump instead.
Smoking Cannabis While You have COVID-19
When you have a respiratory infection, smoking weed (or anything else for that matter) is not what the doctor orders. Viral infections often show symptoms of muscle aches and pain, poor sleep, headache, and signs of inflammation (fever). While it is true that CBD and THC both help many of these symptoms, there is not enough research to confirm the benefit of cannabis in colds or the flu. Smoking or vaping during an active infection is not recommended, as it may further irritate your lungs. If you are set on using weed during your illness, we advise using edibles as a safer alternative during your illness.
Don't Believe the Hype about Coronavirus Treatments
Wherever there is a health crisis, snake oil salespeople will claim to have the latest' cure-all' for it. From sesame oil, sea rocks, vitamin D, or Jim Bakker's Silver Solution, there is no shortage of worthless disinformation on social media. Hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment has largely been debunked. With the hype around CBD, you can also expect to hear unfounded claims about its effect on Coronavirus. There is no reliable research on CBD and Coronavirus. These claims are false and meant to prey on the public's hysteria. Wearing a mask anytime you are around people is becoming the recommended norm. That said, there no good reason to buy a $50 face mask on Amazon unless you are a healthcare worker. The more inexpensive ones will do just fine. Although a mask lowers the chance of an infected person spreading the virus, proper handwashing is a much more effective way to keep you from catching it.
Coronavirus is Mainly Spread by Person-to-Person Contact
COVID-19 is spread mainly by direct contact. The infection usually occurs with exposure to respiratory droplets from an infected person's sneeze or cough. Persons at higher risk are in close contact (within about 6 feet of other people). There is strong evidence COVID-19 is an airborne virus as well. This implies it can catch it by inhaling it in the air, much like when you are able to smell marijuana smoke long after the smoker has left the room. This means there is a chance of you can catch the virus just by breathing the same air as an infected person. Again, wearing a mask all the time should lower your risk.
In general, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid all close contact with people who are sick. Just smile and wave.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stop shaking hands.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then toss it away. If you don't have a Kleenex, cough into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect the surfaces of frequently touched objects with a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Avoid touching public surfaces when you're out and about.
- Wash your hands a lot. Thorough handwashing is perhaps the most important exercise we can do to prevent the virus spread. Wash your hands with soap often for at least 20 seconds. Try singing two verses of Happy Birthday to You or perhaps Baby Shark. You can stop when you get through Daddy Shark). The CDC has a guide on How to Wash Your Hands and Stay Healthy.
- Wear a mask when around others.
How Do I Know if I Have COVID-19?
If you fit the following criteria for COVID-19 symptoms, get yourself tested at a local health clinic. We suggest you call the clinic ahead of time to give them a heads-up for your arrival. While there is some improvement in hospital COVID treatment. Fortunately, the medical response to testing for COVID-19 in the U.S. is improving as well.
- Shortness of breath
- You've been in contact with a COVID-19 patient or recently traveled to an area with an ongoing spread.
Note: Patients infected with COVID may show a wide range of symptoms. From the loss of taste/smell, pink-eye, stomach pains, and others, the actual signs vary. They may have no symptoms. Also, the definition of "area with ongoing spread" is in flux. At this time, we now recognize the virus as already existing in most local communities.
Quarantine Yourself if You Are Sick
If you suspect you are sick with the virus and medically stable, self-quarantine is the best option. According to the CDC recommendations, 'People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 can isolate at home during their illness. It would be best to restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
When Should I Be Worried?
At this time, as far as we know, the younger a weed user is, the less they need to be concerned. Of course, kids and teens should not be using marijuana under most circumstances. If you are relatively younger (<60), and otherwise healthy with mild illness, your risk of a good outcome is great. Riding the illness out is similar to a case of a mild cold, or at worse, the flu. For those persons older than 60, and/or with a pre-existing health condition, the risk of a bad outcome is a little bit higher. Data shows that Black and Latino Americans are dying at disproportionately higher rates than other Americans. This may be related to living and socio-economic conditions. The proposed reasons behind this are still under study. That said, there is no need to panic as the overall risk remains low. Of course, if you are sick, and not medically stable, then you should seek professional medical supervision.
The Coronavirus emergency is ongoing and rapidly evolving. This article will be updated as new information is disclosed as the crisis develops .
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