If you’re trying to keep your lungs healthy in the days of coronavirus, or maybe just another season of spring allergies, there’s plenty of options for consuming cannabis besides smoking or vaping. Medical marijuana users are being advised to seek alternatives at this time. Many severe cases of coronavirus that require hospitalization are correlated with existing, underlying ailments, and those people are likely not smoking or vaping to begin with. However just because you’re healthy now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider reducing risk. Edibles, tinctures, capsules, tablets, drinks and topicals are all great options when you don’t want to put any added strain on your respiratory system. Avoiding unregulated products is especially a good idea right now as well, since they are not rigorously tested for pollutants and more likely to have harmful additives than licensed dispensary products are.
The cannabis website AmericanMarijuana.org recently conducted a survey of over 1000 cannabis users to see how the outbreak of Covid-19 affected their approach to smoking cannabis, and those of their friends and families. What they found was that over 70% of cannabis smokers changed their habits one way or another, although almost 40% continue to smoke the same amount. Of course people with pre-existing lung conditions were more cautious than those that did not have any lung health concerns to begin with.
Over 25% said they smoked less weed, while a slightly higher amount said they smoke more! That means at least 75% of cannabis users are smoking the same or more. This is likely related to a generally higher level of anxiety. There is a widely held perception that cannabis use can prevent or mitigate anxiety, and this is being borne out by numerous studies. A Washington State University study found that patients inhaling cannabis saw depression symptoms being reduced by 89.3%. More study needs to be done to be sure, and the ratios of compounds can vary and even the exact same ratios have been known to have varying effects on different users. A small percentage of people report even higher levels of anxiety when using cannabis, but this can be exacerbated by using the incorrect ratios of CBD to THC, or differences in how the indica or sativa strains interact with their brain chemistry.
A little under 30% said they switched to other methods besides smoking. Over 70% said they no longer share joints or vapes.Over a third of participants reported being concerned over the price of weed, not surprising since we are in a period of epic job loss and economic loss in general. Of course people with pre-existing lung conditions were more cautious than those that did not have any lung health concerns to begin with.
Although the number of participants is pretty high, the people queried are not experts and many of the questions were framed in subjective terms (ie. “Do you think…”, “are you worried…, ”how do your friends and family members react…” etc.). For a more expert opinion, it is best to go with medical professionals and organizations based in more comprehensive, scientific data driven research and publishing.
One of the experts queried by journalists is Dr. Junella Chin, a New York-based physician, who advises patients and adult consumers to move towards oral forms of cannabis, since inhaling anything can affect the respiratory systems. We should be reducing our exposure to any lung irritants right now, such as household dust and aerosol products. Even though we are supposed to be socially distancing right now and that means we are likely not smoking outside near other people, another issue with smoking is that coughing can disperse pathogens into the air. Vaping has been known to be safer than smoking, and temperature control is an important factor. A joint burns much hotter than a well controlled vape pen (about 950 degrees vs. 350-400 degrees). Flower vaporizers are safer than vape pens in general, especially those containing vape products with oils that are thinned with polyethylene glycol or Vitamin E acetate. To summarize, Dr. Chin states “The bottom line? Smoking cannabis raises the risk of COVID-19 complications”.
Fortunately there are plenty of ways for consumers to continue enjoying the anti-inflammation, anti-anxiety, and pain suppression benefits and many more from the safe use of cannabis. In the Silver Lake Caregivers store right now, we offer a wide array of non-inhaling cannabis options from Papa & Barkley capsules and tinctures to Flav lozenges to Big Pete’s cookies and much more. We also offer delivery, so you can safely continue to shop and enjoy the benefits of cannabis wherever you are. Stay healthy, safe and as happy as possible during this shelter in place period, and we look forward to seeing you on the other side.
For those of you who may be new to the edibles experience, here’s some excellent edibles options and descriptions.
Tinctures & Sublinguals
Tinctures are made by infusing cannabinoids into alcohol, coconut oil or vinegar. They are a low-cost, discreet and flexible way to ingest cannabis. Dropped under the tongue, their effect is similar to inhaled cannabis, with almost immediate onset. When swallowed with a beverage, the effect is similar to edibles: onset takes up to one hour, and effect can last six hours or longer.
Topicals are cannabis products that are applied directly to the skin, including balms, creams, salves, lubricants and transdermal patches. They soothe both the skin and muscles, and come in a variety of textures and aromas. They are usually rich in CBD, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. The only topical that provides psychoactive effect is the transdermal patch, and then only if it contains THC.
Edibles are food and beverages infused with cannabis, and can also take the form of capsules. They provide a healthy and discreet way to consume cannabis, but have a longer and more intense effect than inhaled cannabis. Edibles should be used with caution: “start low and go slow,” and avoid over-consumption.
Cannabis infused beverages
A fast growing category in the cannabis industry is infused beverages. If you are looking for a refreshing, convenient method to consume cannabis, this is it. They are typically low calorie, low sugar beverages. Like many other edibles they can be highly controlled low dosage and use nano-emulsions that distribute the extract very evenly throughout the beverage. Right now we have a great selection of Cannabis Quencher drinks, made with organic cane sugar, and with full-spectrum cannabis. In order to easily microdose, their window indicator allows for an accurate 5mg THC every time.
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