A CHANGING WORLD CONFRONTS A GROWING INDUSTRY
We all have our preferred method of Cannabis consumption. Whether it be vaping, dabbing, smoking, eating edibles or anything in between, it’s a ritualistic part of how many of us conduct our daily lives. If I could choose, I would spend most of my days smoking that sweet, sticky ganja – choosing the perfect strain, picking out the best looking nugs, rolling it up in my favorite papers, and inhaling that smoky, aromatic goodness that cleanses the soul. Well, that was until coronavirus hit the globe and turned the entire world upside down, forcing us to take a good look in the mirror and reflect on how current actions impact future health.
IT WAS ALL FUN AND GAMES BEFORE, BUT THE LAST FEW MONTHS HAVE CHANGED HOW WE NEED TO VIEW CANNABIS GOING FORWARD.
The Cannabis industry is fortunate enough to be deemed an essential business in legal states. Though sales have been generally steady across Cannabis companies – with some businesses seeing record numbers – the industry isn’t immune to having to adapt. Farms are limiting the number of trimmers and laborers. Distributors are also limiting staff, wiping equipment, engaging in remote sales and keeping contact to a minimum.
Dispensaries are limiting the number of customers allowed in stores, sanitizing as much as possible and offering curbside delivery. These act as a strong first line of defense against the virus, but what else can the Cannabis community do to mitigate risk?
From what we know about COVID-19 thus far, it mainly affects the respiratory system – leaving those who smoke or have difficulty breathing feeling uneasy regarding the potential for greater risk.
Though there haven’t been many studies on how coronavirus and Cannabis are specifically related, we can look at the emerging data that analyzes traditional tobacco and e-cigarette use in conjunction with COVID-19.
There have been multiple studies linking any traditional cigarette and e-cigarette use to an increased likelihood of developing respiratory issues if infected. According to a recent study lead by Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California San Francisco, current smokers more than double their odds of disease progression if affected with COVID-19.
This means that many Cannabis users are putting themselves at risk every time they spark up that joint or take that fat dab.
Globally, humans are realizing that coronavirus has changed some aspects of daily life – maybe permanently. Cannabis is no different. Knowing the consequences smoking and vaping have on the respiratory system, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way we view Cannabis and its relationship to our body.
The Cannabis industry has long focused on flower and combustion inhalation as the favored method of consumption. How many videos do we see on social media that glorify hot dab coughs or choking out from a fat blunt? It was all fun and games before, but the last few months have changed how we need to view Cannabis going forward.
To safely consume Cannabis in a way that’s still effective, we need to bypass the lungs entirely or at least minimize smoking, as a way to mitigate risk. The most common ways to consume Cannabis minus the smoke is by ingesting tinctures and edibles.
Tinctures are highly effective because they’re already activated and fast acting compared to other methods. Just a few drops under the tongue and the Cannabis is absorbed directly into the bloodstream without having to go through the lungs, stomach or liver. Tinctures generally come in a liquid form with a dropper to measure dosage, though tincture capsules are gaining popularity due to the lack of taste. Edibles are typically preferred over tinctures because they taste better due to being paired with sweet or savory foods. Though edibles normally taste great, they’re not as effective as tinctures. Edibles are absorbed via the stomach lining and liver, so they are not directly entering the bloodstream and could take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to take effect. The best advice for figuring out edibles is to start slow, even if you think it isn’t hitting yet. You can always eat more, but you can’t eat less.
Some people prefer dispensary products because they are tested, professionally made and ready to be consumed straight from the package, thus making them generally safer and more accurate.
Making products at home requires research, product knowledge and availability. There are many ways to create your own products and hundreds, if not thousands, of articles online that can help consumers navigate the new world of homemade consumables. Nothing is more satisfying than creating and eating your own infused homemade pie. Turns out, you can have your Cannabis and eat it, too.
As a community and as an essential business, it’s our responsibility to evaluate the risks and rewards of Cannabis in this new world. And the way we view Cannabis and its relationship to the body must adapt, for better and for worse.
STORY by ALEX WORKMAN @workdubs for leaf nation | ILLUSTRATIONS by JOSHUA BOULET @joshuaboulet for leaf nation