We all know by now that cannabis has a slew of medicinal and therapeutic benefits. It’s anti-anxiety, anti-pain, immune-modulating, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory.
That’s a pretty impressive laundry list given the times.
Still, the first line of defense against the scourge that is COVID-19 is avoiding lung irritation. So smart cannabis consumption during COVID-19 could mean no more passing the kouchie by the left-hand (or any other) side.
At least for now.
The Problem with Smoking and E-Cigarettes
It should come as no surprise that any inhaled substance can affect the respiratory system.
Smoke of any kind can cause lung irritation and microscopic injury to the pulmonary epithelium. These tiny cells line most of the respiratory tract and you want them operating effectively. Well, only if you want to breathe.
You may be thinking, “Well, smoking weed is not as bad as smoking cigarettes. And people are still doing that.” But here’s the thing. Cannabis inhalations tend to be about 66% larger in puff volume than tobacco. Plus, the inhaled volume is around 33% more. And let’s not forget that cannabis smokers hold their breath three to four times longer than tobacco smokers. So there’s that.
E-cigarettes aren’t much better though. Exposing lung tissue to such vape aerosols can increase the release of inflammatory compounds. This creates strain on the lung tissue by forcing it to go into overdrive and mount an immune response.
Then, of course, there’s the coughing that comes with inhaling any product. And dispersing COVID-19 pathogens into the air through coughing is something we ALL want to avoid.
Vaping with a Flower Vaporizer
If you’re finding the notion of giving up inhaling too terrifying right now, but want to challenge your lungs as little as possible, then your best bet is to use a flower vaporizer.
You’ll want to keep the following common-sense harm reduction methods in mind:
- Vaporize outside and away from other people
- Wash your hands before and after each use
- Take small “sips” of vapor for more control and less coughing
- Between inhalations, sterilize the mouthpiece with an alcohol swab
- Keep the temperature as low as possible
This last point is critical.
The key to a healthier draw is temperature control. The lower the temperature, the less likely you are to damage fragile lung tissue. Vaporization occurs in the 350-400 degree range. (By contrast, a joint burns at around 950 degrees.)
The ideal temperature to get the most benefit of the flower with the least risk to your lungs is 390 degrees. So if you don’t have a vaporizer with temperature control technology, it’s definitely worth the investment to get one now.
Consider Oral Forms of Cannabis
This is a time of uncertainty. Many of us fear for our own health or the health of a loved one. Particularly if you or a loved one has underlying health conditions and/or is working on the front line.
We want something to ease our anxiety and give us peace. Cannabis does just that. It interacts with GABA receptors in our brain by reducing that fight-or-flight response many of us currently experience as a constant.
In other words, it tells our body to power down and relax.
But if you’re now feeling apprehensive about inhaling cannabis (not sorry), then consider exploring oral forms of cannabis instead. There are a wide variety of options including capsules, tinctures, edibles, and drinkables.
If you’re new to this world, you’ll need some time for experimentation. But seriously, do you have somewhere else you need to be right now?
Begin with a dosage of 5 mg and work your way up from there. Just keep in mind that ingesting can take an hour or two before you start to feel the full effects. So start low and go slowly. And time your dosing accordingly.
Try CBD As Well
Finally, don’t forget about CBD – THC’s straight laced sibling.
Though it’s not psychoactive and won’t get you high, it can be a powerful anti-inflammatory. And since chronic inflammation plays a key role in all diseases, keeping it at a low is crucial for reducing symptoms.
In addition, CBD has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and help users relax. At this stage of the game, anything that reduces inflammation or stress in your body and mind benefits your immune system.
And a strong immune system is everything right now.
Smart Cannabis Consumption During COVID-19 Is Essential
Whether you’re using cannabis to relieve pain, keep calm, sleep, or even to get motivated, it can be a therapeutic component of your self-care regimen.
Just remember that smart cannabis consumption during COVID-19 includes that which takes your health and the health of others into consideration.
So keep calm and carry on consuming.
And for the latest on COVID-19 and how it pertains to the cannabis industry, keep checking back with us.