I Know You’re Stuck at Home, But Should You *Really* Be Smoking Weed RN?

Raise your hand if you’re currently hanging at home, battling bouts of extreme boredom and intense anxiety. Same. Which is why I have weed on the brain.

Well, okay, if I’m being honest, even under “normal” circumstances, I smoke pot pretty much every single night. It mellows me the eff out, so yeah, it’s been especially appealing to light up during the day given the current chaotic state of the world. But since, you know, there’s also a lot of talk of lung health in the ether, I’ve been curious if the relaxing properties outweigh any of the potential risks. Am I prioritizing my mental health over my physical health, and is that crazy? Turns out, I’m definitely not alone. (Though, yes, don’t worry, I am social distancing.)

Thanks to our national hunkering down, the cannabis industry is booming.

“We saw a 2x bump in sales in the middle of March, coinciding with the run on food, sanitizers and other household goods,” says Sam Ludwig, President of Aster Farms, a California-based cannabis flower company. Julia Jacobson, Aster Farms’ CEO, says she believes the increase in sales is thanks to two kinds of pandemic shoppers. “The first is the medicinal consumer who relies on cannabis for its properties of pain relief, reducing stress, and relaxation. They needed to stock up on essentials such as food, cleaning products and in their case, cannabis. The second is the new consumer who has a bit more downtime to experience their life with the plant.”

For those choosing to partake in ~the devil’s lettuce~, the good news is that using cannabis does come with a whole bunch of health benefits for fighting COVID-19-induced-stress—namely, relief from insomnia, anxiety, and pain. (And yeah, it can maybe even help you see this whole coronavirus situation differently. “Marijuana changes perceptions which can lead to new beliefs and actions—truly seeing one’s world through new eyes is the possible gift of the coronavirus and marijuana could enhance this effect,” suggests Mark Kalina, M.D. of Pacific Pearl, an integrative medical practice in La Jolla, California. Sure, it’s kinda woo woo, but I dig it.)

But let me clear, guys: COVID-19 is an acute lung disease, so smoking weed is not the doctor-recommended method for ingesting cannabis at the moment. “Marijuana can lead to a chronic cough when smoked regularly—smoke of any kind is irritating to the airways,” Dr. Kalina cautions. “As COVID-19 affects the lungs primarily, this is a particularly good time to be at one’s peak capacities in terms of the immune system and respiratory capacity.”

“Smoking weed is not the doctor-recommended method for ingesting cannabis at the moment.”

In other words, ’tis the season to break out your edibles and non-inhalable cannabis products instead of reaching for your lighter.

Right now, the important thing to remember is that staying at home is lit-er-al-ly one of the best ways we can each do our part to help end the pandemic. Yes, it’s mundane, and yes, it’s still stressful, so yes, you can and should find ways to relax without feeling too guilty about it. Maybe it’s a Zoom call with your crew or maybe it’s a jigsaw puzzle. I’m gonna retire my weed pen for now and pop open a cannabis-infused drink. Seems like a solid opportunity to host my own personal taste-test. Maybe I’ll even Insta-Live it if you’re lucky.

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