Treatment Claims on Cannabis and Coronavirus. What You Need to Know.
Treatment claims on cannabis and coronavirus are just new-age versions of snake oil. Don’t believe the social media hype. The truth is, marijuana does not treat or cure coronavirus. With the excitement around CBD and cannabis, expect to hear unfounded claims about their effects on the virus. There are no reliable studies for the impact of CBD on COVID-19. The FDA has warned against false claims for hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) sold as antiviral medicine.
Coronavirus is not a Bacterium
Studies show that pot contains antibacterial cannabinoids. These compounds are useful in killing bacteria. Sadly, COVID-19 is a virus, not a bacterium. While weed may play a role in treating bacterial illness, it doesn't kill viruses. Viral infections often show symptoms of muscle pain and aches, headache, poor sleep, and signs of fever or inflammation. Of course, cannabis is also used to treat chronic pain and may benefit other symptoms of a viral infection. However, while CBD and THC help many cold or flu symptoms, there is not enough research to confirm the benefits. Using weed in this setting has not been studied extensively.
Viral Spread Mainly by Person-to-Person Contact
Covid-19 quickly spreads by direct contact from person-to-person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, infected droplets fall to the ground within about 6-feet of them. The droplets land on the faces of those nearby. They enter the body through the lungs, mouth, or eyes. Persons within 6-feet are in close contact and at higher risk. Patients with symptoms are the most contagious. However, a person can spread the virus directly without coughing or sneezing. Emerging evidence shows the virus may be airborne, as well as spread by droplets. This increases the importance of wearing a mask all the time.
How Marijuana Users Increase Their Risk of Exposure
Cannabis users tend to be 'laid back' or 'go with the flow' types. Our puff, puff, pass culture creates an excellent way to spread any virus. The generous sharing of joints, vapes, pipes, blunts, and bongs put us at higher risk. Also, our culture values sharing within intimate groups in close contact. Until the viral threat passes, we suggest not sharing your weed supply. Nor should you be using anyone else's weed supply. If they give you the side-eye, simply give them a friendly elbow bump instead.
COVID-19 Coronavirus – An Invisible Enemy
Novel coronavirus COVID-19 is a viral infection that attacks the lungs. It is related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Although the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza look similar, COVID-19 has a higher rate of contagion and death. COVID-19 first appeared in China in November 2019 and has since spread to every continent except Antarctica. Countries are seeing the number of new cases rising. At the time of this post (3/24/20), the U.S. has almost 47,000 confirmed cases with 600 deaths. The global pandemic may last months with the possibility of multiple waves of illness. COVID-19 has infected 336K people causing 15,000 deaths worldwide.
How Weed Users Can Prevent COVID-19
The dangers of viral spread warrant a practice routine to prevent exposure. The best way to avert its spread is frequent, robust hand-washing with soap and water. Wash your hands with soap frequently for at least 20 seconds. Singing a couple of verses of the Happy Birthday song 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.'
Wearing a Mask
Wearing a mask lowers the risk of an infected person spreading the virus. A face mask keeps an infected person from coughing or sneezing their droplets past the splash zone. There is little evidence that using a surgical-style mask prevents a non-infected person from catching the virus. Over the past week since this post was written there is some evidence the Covid-19 may be aerosolized, or spread in the air. This means there is a chance of you can catch the virus just by breathing the same air. The CDC is now considering whether to tell people to wear a mask all the time.
Each person has a six-foot droplet splash zone around them. Keeping a personal distance of 6-feet avoids close contact to protect yourself and others as well. Maintaining social distance means avoiding crowds of more than ten people. Do not shake anyone's hand, whether they are sick or not.
While practicing social distance is essential, avoiding social isolation is just as important. Keep in contact with your friends. Call up to check in on your grandparents and parents. While you should be physically isolated, you should not be alone.
Smoking Cannabis When You have COVID-19
When you have any type of lung infection, smoking weed (or anything else) is not what the doctor would order. The heat from smoking or vaping during an active infection may further irritate your lungs. If you are determined to use weed during your illness, we advise edibles as a safer alternative.
What the CDC Recommends for All Persons
• Avoid any close contact with people who are sick. Instead of getting close, just practice the smile and wave.
• Keep from touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stop shaking hands. Do the elbow-bump instead.
• Stay home if you feel sick.
• Use a tissue when you sneeze or cough, then throw it away. If you don't have a tissue, cough it the surfaces of frequently touched objects with a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
What to Do About Contaminated Surfaces or Objects
COVID-19 lives on hard surfaces for only a few hours. While it's possible to get COVID-19 from exposed surfaces, it is unlikely. You will not get it from an imported Amazon package. Avoid touching public surfaces when you're traveling out and about. Proper hand-washing is the most important action we can take to prevent viral spread. Again we suggest washing your hands. A lot. Although the virus began in bats, you won't get it from your pets or from eating meat.
How Do You Know if You Have COVID-19?
What are the Symptoms?
COVID-19 is a stealth virus that spreads silently. An exposed person may not show symptoms for up to two weeks. During this time, they may unknowingly share the virus with others. These are the CDC criteria for a possible suspicion of COVID-19 exposure:
• Shortness of breath
• You have had contact with a COVID-19 patient or recent travel to an area with an ongoing spread.
Two main symptoms are fever and dry cough. Recent observations note the very first signs may be loss of taste or smell.
• What to Do if I Have Symptoms?
If you think you might be getting sick with any of the above criteria, get yourself tested. We suggest you call your doctor or clinic ahead of time to give them a heads-up for your arrival. Not all clinics have the testing kits yet, and they do not want you unknowingly infecting other patients.
How Worried Should You Be?
The medical response to the test for COVID-19 has been slow. By February, the U.S. had only tested 352 people in our nation of 327 million. Although testing capacity is improving, America has a long way to catch up.
o Younger than 60
The virus was initially thought more severe in older patients. Data now shows that up to 40% of severe cases are in patients younger than 60 years old. Of course, teens and younger kids should not be using marijuana under most circumstances. If you are younger than 60 years old, have mild COVID-19 illness, and are otherwise healthy, your chances of a good outcome are high. Riding the disease out is often similar to a case of a mild cold, or at worse, the flu.
o Older than 60
Adverse outcomes are more common for persons older than 60. The same holds for those with pre-existing health conditions like heart or lung disease, or diabetes. In general, there's no need to panic as the overall risk remains low. Of course, if you are sick and not medically stable, then you should seek medical supervision.
COVID-19 has about a 2.3% death rate, according to numbers gathered from the Chinese Center for Disease Control. For comparison, the death rate from seasonal flu is typically about 0.1%. Despite being ten times deadlier than the flu, eighty percent of COVID-19 cases are mild. This said deaths in younger persons do occur as well.
But not everyone shares the lower risks associated with mild disease equally. The novel coronavirus is most dangerous for medically vulnerable groups like smokers and the elderly.
Currently, there is not a virus vaccine or treatment. Supportive therapy for the novel coronavirus is a lot like the flu. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and keep as fit and healthy a lifestyle as you can otherwise.
The CDC recommends people with slight COVID-19 signs can isolate at home during their illness. If you think you are sick and medically stable, self-quarantine is the best option. It is best to limit activities outside your house, except for getting medical care. Don't go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
In severe cases, people who have trouble breathing may need extra oxygen. So far, older people are more vulnerable than youngsters under 15. Most fatal cases have been in the elderly and patients with pre-existing health problems.
Coronavirus and Snake Oil, and Other False Treatment and Cures
Currently Hyped Treatments
In times of emergency, snake oil salespeople will claim to have the latest' cure-all.' With increasing concern over the spread of COVID-19, many consumers are looking for any treatment solution. The following are some of the unhelpful and possibly dangerous 'cures.'
• bleach-based cleaners – Bleach-based cleaners are helpful to wipe down contaminated surfaces. They should not be swallowed or put in the nose or on the skin.
• Hydrochloroquine/Chloroquine – Researchers are studying this medicine now. No one knows if it helps or not. Also, drinking it may kill you.
• Hand-sanitizers that make unfounded claims that they prevent or help stop the spread of viruses.
• Hemp and CBD dietary supplements, food additives, cosmetics, and skincare products touted as medicine.
• Divine aid and prayer – while religion is essential in healing our souls, it has no direct effect on the virus. We suggest you continue practicing social distancing without the need to close churches.
Other "Miracle Treatments"
• Sesame oil
• Nasal washing
• Saltwater gargle
• Sea rocks
• Vitamin D
• Jim Bakker's Silver Solution
• Expensive face masks on Amazon
• Whiskey or cocaine – it doesn't help kill the virus, but it may help you forget you have it.
• 'Miracle mineral solution' (MMS for short) - like bleach and drinking it will make you sick.
The Coronavirus emergency is ongoing and rapidly evolving. This article will be updated as new information is disclosed as the crisis develops.