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Safe Cannabis Use in the Age of the Coronavirus

coronavirus, cannabis, safe

Socializing and sharing are fundamental to cannabis culture. Bringing people together to share their favourite herb has always been part of the experience and one of the cornerstones of the cannabis community. Like so many activities we enjoy, coronavirus has hurt traditional smoking practices.

Gathering a group of people together indoors is not only frowned upon in the age of coronavirus; it is illegal in some parts of the world. The dynamics of cannabis consumption have been turned upside down, but that hasn’t stopped those in the cannabis community. We have adapted to the new normal and are smoking or eating legal cannabis products at rates never thought possible!

In these unprecedented times, cannabis consumption has served as a way to cope. However, we must be mindful about consuming cannabis safely in the age of coronavirus. The nature of the virus spreading through droplets originating from the lungs and its ability to infect some without showing any symptoms has created the perfect storm to shut down group smoking activity across the globe.

How Cannabis Puts Users at Risk

Photo Credit: Laura Corinn

Gathering friends from separate households into an indoor environment is bad enough. You couldn’t come up with a better way to spread a respiratory virus than sharing bongs, blunts, joints, and pipes – and then coughing your brains out in between hits.

To be a responsible stoner, smoke sessions need to be put on pause for a while. It is too easy to catch COVID-19 these days. Even if your crew consists of young healthy potheads that aren’t worried about getting sick from Coronavirus, anyone could spread it to an older relative or frontline worker. You don’t want to be responsible for killing your BFF’s grandma just because you puff-puff-passed a fresh quarter of some fire Girl Scout Cookies.

Protect the Lungs

There is another glaring concern related to coronavirus and smoking cannabis – your lungs. Purposefully weakening your lungs during a respiratory virus outbreak is probably not the best idea. Not only does smoking make you more susceptible to severe symptoms, but smoking also is the number one way to weaken your immune system.

In an article on everything COVID-19 from Harvard Health Publishing, the number one suggestion regarding keeping your immune system strong is to stop smoking or vaping.

Many misinformed cannabis smokers believe that cannabis isn’t hard on the lungs, as cigarettes are. This is one of the most dangerous misconceptions in the cannabis community. Inhaling hot smoke is bad for your lungs, period. This type of information hurts the movement. We need to be honest about smoking cannabis. Experts believe that cannabis could have fewer long-term side-effects, but there isn’t sufficient research to support this. We also have to consider how cannabis is inhaled compared to tobacco. We aren’t aware of any tobacco smokers who take the biggest hit possible and hold it in as long as they can – which is a common practice among stoners.

Try Edibles, Everybody’s Doing It

The bottom line is that smoking or vaping anything during the Coronavirus pandemic doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Lucky for us, consumable cannabis isn’t limited to just flower. Edibles and tinctures are a great alternative to smoking. Because eating weed is clearly a much safer path to enjoying cannabis, the edible market exploded this past year. According to a cannabis analytical firm, adult edible sales grew 60% in 2020.

Safe Access to Cannabis

The industry has proven to be resilient through these tough times. Cannabis sales are through the roof and dispensaries are considered essential businesses. There are options for safe access for users who think they may have been in contact with someone who has Covid or is at risk. Most Toronto dispensaries are offering delivery or curbside pick-up to protect their employees and valued customers.  

Smoke Sessions in the New Normal

Coronavirus has made us switch up our entire lives. Enjoying cannabis is no different. It is up to you to decide how much change is needed in smoking habits during these times. For those interested in consuming cannabis more safely, we have included a few tips on how to create a safe environment for you and your loved ones while enjoying this incredible plant.

Stop Sharing

We have a feeling COVID is going to be here for a while. Sharing your blunt, bong, pipe, or joint with someone is kind of unsanitary, pandemic aside. If you are going to have friends over to smoke, or do a socially distanced sesh outside, have everyone bring their own joints or smoking apparatus.

Don’t Smoke When you are Sick

Again, another trend that could catch on in the future. Coronavirus has made everyone re-think health. Smoking with a group of friends when you are sick isn’t courteous. Hopefully, this will become common practice even after things get sort of back to normal.

Virtual Smoke Sessions

Thanks to technology we can be social without actually coming into contact with loved ones. Zoom meetings have become a common practice in the business world over the past year. Stoners have also taken advantage of video conference calls to get lit safely with their best buds. It’s not ideal but smoking over Zoom is the best way to smoke and keep in contact with the fam and friends.

Solo Sessions – Puff Puff Puff > Puff Puff Pass

There’s nothing wrong with smoking alone. Using cannabis to deal with an unstable world has helped countless people. We would prefer to smoke in a circle with our closest friends, but it just isn’t responsible. Smoking alone gives us time to reflect, tune into one of our favorite podcasts or engage in a favourite hobby or activity.

Stoners Persevere

The cannabis community is resilient. We wouldn’t have overcome prohibition by sitting on our couches watching Rick and Morty and eating chips all day. Stoners have shown the ability to adapt to these uncertain times.

We all would prefer to gather with those we love to smoke cannabis, but it isn’t in the best interests of society at the moment. There will be a time when it is safe to huddle up and trade germs by passing around a nice fat blunt, but we aren’t there yet. Better days are on the horizon – stay safe and enjoy cannabis responsibly!

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