The global concern over the coronavirus known as COVID-19 has many people taking precautions against contracting the virus. Here’s what we know about cannabis and this novel coronavirus.
How cannabis users can stay healthy around coronavirus
Stop sharing joints, blunts, and bongs while coronavirus is spreading
The puff-and-pass customs surrounding cannabis are among the greatest pleasures of the plant. But passing around a joint is is a good way to spread any virus, including COVID-19. For now, stick to your own supply and offer a friendly elbow bump.
Wash your hands frequently
We can’t emphasize this enough. Thorough handwashing really, really, really does help prevent transmission of coronavirus, as well as other ailments. Before you sit down for a session or dig into some munchies, make sure to wash your hands for a count of 20 seconds. That’s as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday to You”—or the first chorus of Sublime’s “Smoke Two Joints.” Just saying.
Don’t buy into unproven coronavirus remedies
Given the general hype around CBD, expect to hear outlandish claims about its effect on coronavirus, most likely spread via social media. These claims are not true. There is no solid research on CBD and coronavirus.
Be cautious with cannabis around COVID-19
Smoking weed when you’re down with a virus: Not such a great idea. Leafly’s article Cannabis for colds and flu? Here’s what the experts say has a lot of helpful advice about integrating cannabis (or not) into the treatment and recovery from a normal flu. Yes, THC and CBD have pain-relieving, sleep-inducing, and anti-inflammatory properties.
But inhaling hot smoke is the last thing your lungs need when fighting a cold or flu. Do your research before medicating.
Take precautions about physical contact with others
Stop shaking hands. A wave or friendly verbal greeting helps everyone. You don’t need to lock yourself in a panic room, but do consider your interactions with other people and with public surfaces when out and about.
Leave the face masks for ill patients and healthcare providers
The CDC and other health agencies are clear on this: Masks are meant to prevent already infected patients from spreading the virus, and to protect healthcare professionals working in high-risk environments. Frequent handwashing is far more effective than wearing a mask.
Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms
Don’t jam up the emergency room if it’s just a common cold, but get yourself tested if you fit the criteria for COVID-19 symptoms. Those include:
- Shortness of breath
- Have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient, or traveled recently to an area with ongoing spread.
Note: The definition of “area with ongoing spread” changes practically by the hour, and this item on the symptom list is becoming less important as the virus is recognized as extant in local communities.
Have a self-quarantine plan
At this point we’re talking about a spectrum, from choosing a work-at-home option (if you’re fortunate enough to have that choice) to a full-on home quarantine. The CDC has a page of recommendations for those who stay home with a suspected case of COVID-19.