First detected in China in late 2019, the novel coronavirus — also referred to as COVID-19 — has spread to over 190 countries and territories, infecting more than an estimated 560,000 people and killing over 25,000. With the rapid spread of this disease, officials are warning everyone to take as many precautions as they can.
As a cannabis consumer, there are specific things you can do to stay safer. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the coronavirus and cannabis.
How can cannabis users stay healthy during the Coronavirus outbreak?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is the best resource for the latest methods of staying healthy, preventing infection, and spreading the virus to others. Below are the main ways you can protect yourself.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands regularly and frequently can not be emphasized enough. The CDC has urged everyone — whether you’re at a high risk of getting sick or not — to keep their hands as clean as possible, as often as possible. CDC officials have said numerous times that it’s the most important thing citizens can do to avoid getting and spreading coronavirus.
However, smokers should practice this method of prevention beyond the bathroom. Cannabis users should make sure to wash their hands before a smoke sesh, eating snacks, and preparing cannabis to smoke. Touching a bong or other hardware that an infected person has used and then your face could put you at risk to get the virus.
When you do wash your hands, be sure to wash them for enough time. Twenty seconds is the recommended time, which is about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday to You,” twice.
Have virtual smoke sessions
One way to keep yourself and your fellow cannabis consumers safe is to host your sessions virtually.
While nothing will ever compare to the camaraderie of sharing a vape pen with your friends in person, precautionary steps like this need to be taken during a pandemic — but that doesn’t make self-isolation and working remotely any less lonely. So download Zoom or Skype, or Facetime one of your smoking buddies instead of meeting up in real life.
Making this change is just one way to practice social distancing, a term that public health officials use to stop or at least slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. Essentially, it means deliberately increasing the physical space between people and limiting large groups of people coming together.
So hosting your smoke sessions online and from the safety of your home is a simple way to practice social distancing yourself.
Don’t share bongs, joints or vapes
Much like washing your hands, you should avoid sharing things that come into contact with your mouth. According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets produced when a person infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. It’s more likely to spread between people who are within 6-feet of one another.
Those droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people close-by. People can also inhale droplets through their lungs.
Because of this, it’s crucial to not only disinfect all of your vapes, bongs, and bowls but also keep them to yourself.
Consider switching to edibles if you’re feeling ill
Since common signs of a COVID-19 infection include respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, it can be helpful to stop smoking if you are feeling unwell. Smoking or vaping could possibly irritate your throat further if you’re already ill, although there are no studies that say people should stop vaping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re feeling sick, but still want to partake in cannabis, this could be a good time to experiment with switching to edibles to see if it makes a difference in how you feel. At least until you’re feeling better.
Take advantage of dispensary delivery services
Find out if dispensaries near you are offering delivery services. You can check out this tool by Weedmaps to easily check what’s around.
Having access to cannabis during this time may be crucial for some people to relax, stay calm, and keep up with their normal routine. Plus, you can support your local dispensary in the process.
Will Coronavirus impact the cannabis industry?
Things are still changing daily. While many news outlets have reported on the potential impacts this pandemic will have on the economy in general, no one knows for sure what will happen.
However, some cannabis products are already seeing shortages. China manufactures most vape batteries and cartridges. Since COVID-19 originated there, slowdowns and supply interruptions started in mid-January due to quarantines. They have yet to resume fully.
However, most cannabis companies already expect a delay in vape hardware made in China due to the Lunar New Year, so they stock up. Luckily, companies like Vessel have a strong supply chain in place, giving them an edge over other companies who may not be as prepared. Vessel has plenty of high-quality supplies, and even has new products slotted to arrive in April and May. If you’re having a hard time getting a hold of quality vape pens, you’ll find what you need in Vessel’s online shop.
Will cannabis-related events be affected
Yes. On March 12, the government recommended that organizations should consider canceling large gatherings — meaning 250 people or more — to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means that most (if not all) large events, including cannabis-related events, are most likely to be canceled or postponed to a later date.
More recently, the government also recommended canceling nonessential gatherings of 10 or more people, for the time being, especially those that serve people who are at a higher risk of catching the disease.
Some of the more major cannabis events that have been affected include:
- Hall of Flowers - Postponed
- FlyHi 420 Festival - Canceled
- High Times Cannabis Cup - Postponed
- SweetWater 420 - Postponed; possibly canceled
- 420 Vancouver - Canceled
For more information, check-in with the organizers of any cannabis-related event you planned on attending or participating in to see if a rescheduled date is available.
To sum it up
While it’s essential to take precautions in an emergency like this, it’s equally as important to remain calm. Taking the appropriate measures to stay safe while reducing your anxiety by indulging in your favorite cannabis products can help you and your loved ones get through this difficult time a little easier.
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