According to Headset, pre-rolls are the third most popular cannabis product on the market, pulling in about 11.5 percent of total cannabis sales. They are incredibly convenient, eliminating the need to roll joints yourself or have any equipment of your own. You don’t need a grinder, papers, filters, pipes, bongs, vaporizers etc. You can just light up and go.
Many dispensaries and online vendors of medical marijuana in Canada sell pre-rolls of just about every strain you can imagine. Whether you’re looking for an indica strain to send you off to sleep or a sativa to increase your focus, you can buy it pre-rolled. But now that we are in a pandemic are pre-rolls still safe to consume?
The Short Answer is Yes. Smoke That Pre-Roll!
If you think that pre-rolls are made by some guy in a basement crumbling weed with his fingers and licking them closed, then it’s no wonder that you’re concerned about the safety of them during a pandemic. In reality, it’s unlikely that any hands ever touch your pre-rolls. At least not bare hands.
Pre-rolls are made using machines that pack and roll the joints. While workers might be operating the machines, they do so wearing gloves to avoid any contamination. Workers also use sterilized tools and wear masks any time they need to interact directly with the product. On top of that, workers are well aware of the risks and dangers associated with COVID-19. They receive training and instructions on the sanitary procedures necessary to keep the products and each other safe.
Coronavirus is transmitted through saliva, so you don’t want to be sharing a pre-roll amongst a group. That said, if you are smoking it solo, then you won’t have to worry about catching coronavirus from the pre-roll. Avoid the puff-puff-pass, and you should be in the clear.
If you have any respiratory conditions or are prone to respiratory tract infections, it’s better to avoid smoking pre-rolls. Smoking marijuana may cause more mucus and kill cells, which help remove germs from the body.
While it may be sufficient for those with a robust immune system, those who already have respiratory conditions or infections might notice worsening symptoms. There is no clear evidence of respiratory conditions occurring more in marijuana smokers. What research has indicated is that they do seek healthcare for respiratory infections more often than non-smokers.
Using Medical Marijuana in Canada for COVID: What Does the Research Say?
COVID-19 has taken the world by storm this year, and there are no signs of the virus slowing down. Some countries are talking about a vaccine in the works, but they may still be months away from implementation. The world is desperate for a cure, leaving health scientists and researchers working quickly to find prevention methods and develop a treatment for the virus. Thus far, the best thing we’ve been able to do is social distance and wear masks.
But what about cannabis? We know that there are so many potential benefits to this plant, could treating COVID be one of them? Early studies say maybe! There are two main ways that cannabis may be able to help with coronavirus.
The research confirming cannabis as an appropriate treatment method for COVID-19 is limited, but it’s there. The research we do have access to looks at the potential benefits of adding CBD to mouthwash or other oral solutions to help regulate ACE2 levels in tissues that are considered high-risk.
ACE2 levels change as coronavirus progresses and grows in the body. Being able to regulate those levels is essential since ACE2 is an integral part of healthy lung function. If CBD can help, it could be a great way to maintain healthy lung function and fight off COVID-19.
2. Reduce the severity of COVID
COVID-19 affects each victim differently. Some people experience severe symptoms, even death, where others may only have mild, flu-like symptoms. Regardless of how people experience the virus, there is hyperinflammation involved. This hyperinflammation is typically caused by something called cytokine storm syndrome.
Cytokine storm syndrome causes an influx of cytokine proteins to release, which attack the lungs and immune system, causing hyperinflammation.
One of the most significant benefits of cannabis is its ability to reduce inflammation. Research into cytokine storm syndrome and COVID indicates that cannabis could also help treat people with a pathogenic inflammatory response. Currently, corticosteroid dexamethasone is used to treat inflammation associated with COVID. But research suggests that cannabis, specifically the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes, may be twice as effective.
Additionally, there is a potential cell treatment being developed by InnoCan Pharma of Israel and Tel Aviv University, which aims to use CBD-loaded exosomes to treat lung inflammation related to COVID-19. It will treat the virus by targeting damaged organs and the nervous system to produce anti-inflammatory effects.
Are There Risks to Smoking Cannabis During the Pandemic?
Pandemic or not, it’s crucial that you’re purchasing your pre-rolls from a reputable, legal vendor. If you’re purchasing off the streets, then you never know how the pre-rolls were made. Likely, dealers did not roll them with the sanitary standards that you would get from a licensed facility.
The other risks that are involved with smoking cannabis are not necessarily related to the pandemic specifically. If you have COVID or any respiratory illnesses, you should avoid smoking pre-rolls as it may increase your symptoms. Some research suggests that smoking marijuana could increase the risk of bronchitis, so smoking when you already have a respiratory condition is not advised.
To Confirm: It’s Safe to Smoke Weed
Smoking medical marijuana in Canada during the pandemic will not increase your risk of contracting coronavirus. As long as you aren’t sharing pre-rolls with others, you should not have to worry about COVID contamination as there is little chance that saliva would end up on your pre-rolls.
With reputable vendors using automated machinery to roll the joints, the human contact with the product is minimal and done with the utmost health standards in mind. So, keep on smoking those pre-rolls!