Categories
BLOG

leafy smoking weed

Cannabis and coronavirus: Here’s what you need to know

This story was updated at 11am on April 20, 2020.

The global concern over the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has many people taking precautions against contracting the virus. It’s also raising a lot of questions about weed, smoking, edibles, THC, CBD, and your health during this difficult time.

We’ll continue to update this page as we learn more information. Here’s what we know about cannabis and COVID-19.

Self-isolating? Order cannabis online with Leafly Pickup or Delivery

Jump to a section in this article:

Breaking news on marijuana and coronavirus

The coronavirus has disrupted cannabis commerce across North America, triggering runs on stores, closures, and the adoption of curbside pickup and delivery ordering. SARS-CoV-2 is canceling most 420 events, and changing personal behavior away from sharing joints and pipes.

The latest today, Monday April 20:
    • On this 4/20 holiday, cannabis consumers are finding new and creative ways to celebrate while keeping their social distance amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
    • A new set of projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated that some states could begin limited reopening as soon as May 4, while others might have to wait until June.
    • New York State reported its lowest single-day COVID-19 death toll (478 people) in more than two weeks, which is a hopeful sign.
    • Congress and the White House are negotiating over a new $450 billion business relief fund, none of which (again) would be available to any cannabis company, or even companies that do business with cannabis companies.
    • The governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, turned to his wife, Yumi Hogan, a Korean immigrant who speaks fluent Korean, to strike a deal with a Korean company to secure coronavirus test kits.
    • Meanwhile, state and local officials who receive PPE orders are taking extraordinary Mission: Impossible-style measures to prevent federal officials from hijacking their goods.
    • Last Thursday, President Trump issued a set of measured guidelines for states to follow as they begin to consider reopening. The next day, he called for Americans to rebel against and “LIBERATE” states that were following his own guidelines.
How are we doing?

Better, thanks to state-mandated stay-at-home orders. On April 20, America’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 40,000, although the outbreak shows signs of leveling off after nearly 40 straight days of growth. Check out the United States’s trajectory on the April 20 Financial Times chart:

The Financial Times COVID-19 daily death toll tracker has become one of the essential tools to see where each nation is in its fight against the pandemic.

The National Governors Association has a roundup of actions taken in each state, updated daily. The most reliable information sources right now are state health agencies in Washington, New York, and California, which are on the leading edge of the outbreak and mitigation strategies.

COVID-19 health and safety orders

      • Stock up for at least a 30-day interruption in cannabis supplies, and also to limit trips to stores.
      • Why all the hand washing? You’re not just washing COVID-19 down the drain. Soap actually kills the virus. How? It’s all about soap’s molecular structure. See this explainer from Vox: How soap absolutely annihilates the coronavirus.
      • Stop sharing joints, blunts, and bongs. The puff-and-pass customs surrounding cannabis are among the greatest pleasures of the plant. But passing around a joint is is a good way to spread any virus, including COVID-19. For now, stick to your own supply.
      • Practice social distancing and stay at home. Everyone in North America should now be fully into a social distancing regimen. Many cities and states now operate under stay-at-home advisories or orders. Work from home if you can. Reduce, limit, or eliminate trips outside the house. Strategize to make one one trip to the grocery store per week. Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. Cancel and reschedule all events. Weddings, birthday parties, card nights: Nope. Done. Help people in high-risk categories. A weekly trip to the grocery store could be a life-or-death decision for them. If you’re in a low-risk demographic, offer to pick up their items the next time you make a run.
      • Worried you’re showing symptoms? Use this Coronavirus Assessment Tool developed by Providence Health and Microsoft.

Can cannabis or CBD prevent or cure COVID-19?

No. Just flat-out no.

Given the general hype around CBD, we’re already hearing outlandish claims about its effect on coronavirus, most likely spread via social media. These claims are not true. There is no solid research on CBD and coronavirus. Or cannabis and coronavirus.

Self-isolating? Order cannabis online with Leafly Pickup or Delivery

Dispensary news amid COVID-19

Are stores and dispensaries open during COVID-19?

Most states have designated medical marijuana dispensaries as essential parts of the health care system, and so have remained open. Some states have shut down adult-use sales while allowing medical sales. Others allow only delivery or curbside pickup.

Openings, Closings, and Re-openings

      • What’s open today: Leafly’s guide to dispensary openings and closings in the COVID-19 era is updated twice daily. Check it to see what’s up in your state.
      • How to use curbside pickup: We also have a guide to curbside pickup, where it’s happening, and how it works.
      • And here’s how to use legal cannabis delivery services.

Buying, using, and selling cannabis amid COVID-19

Buying cannabis – best practices right now

      • Place your order online. Leafly Pickup is available at hundreds of stores nationwide. Limit time spent around strangers to as little as possible. Make large enough orders to have a month’s supply, if possible. Here’s how long weed is good for.
      • Use curbside pickup or delivery. Leafly’s guide to curbside pickup just went live. As of March 25, curbside pickup is mandatory in Colorado; delivery is mandatory in Nevada. Expect that to spread to other states soon.

Is it safe to consume cannabis right now?

Dr. Junella Chin, a New York-based physician, answered many of the most pressing questions about cannabis use and COVID-19 in this Leafly article: Are cannabis users more at risk for COVID-19?

During this period of social isolation and stay-at-home orders, it’s critically important to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. If your wellness regimen includes cannabis, and you show no COVID-19 symptoms, keep on keeping on.

Here are some answers to questions we’re hearing a lot right now:

      • My anxiety is off the hook.Help me out? Check out Bailey Rahn’s complete guide, How to use cannabis for anxiety. It’s a great resource page that includes info on dosing, strains, research, and drug interactions.
      • Advice for insomnia? Got you covered here: Best cannabis products for alleviating insomnia.
      • I’ve got the regular flu, or a cold. Will cannabis help? Take it from everyone who’s ever tried it: Do not smoke weed with a cold or the flu. It. Is. Awful. Edibles? THC and CBD might help alleviate the aches and pains, but the overall effect is unclear. A deeper dive: Cannabis for colds and flu? Here’s what the experts say.
      • In general, many consumers are moving toward non-inhaled modalities for the time being.

Are bong condoms really a thing?

Absolutely! Get yourself one of these fun devices. One of our in-house experts suggests this $9.99 silicone MouthPeace from Mooselabs, which uses activated carbon filters. Jay the Cannabis Explorer reviews it in the video below:

Another suggestion: Pax Era mouthpiece covers can be had for $4.30 a pop from Delta 3D Studios. Use an X-Acto knife to cut a hole in the closed end and you’ve got yourself a personal lip caddy.

Note: Most viral transmission happens via the hands, so while you’re being so clever with your lips you should watch your fingers, which are holding a bong or vape that many others have just recently held as well. Just saying.

Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms

What to do if you suspect you have COVID-19: Consult this Washington State DOH advisory, which contains action items.

Don’t jam up the emergency room if it’s just a common cold, but get yourself tested if you fit the criteria for COVID-19 symptoms. Those include:

      • Fever over 101
      • Dry cough
      • Shortness of breath
      • Have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient, or traveled recently to an area with ongoing spread.

Note: The definition of “area with ongoing spread” changes practically by the hour, and this item on the symptom list is becoming less important as the virus is recognized as extant in local communities.

Check yourself with this flow chart

Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton teamed up with UCSD infectious disease expert Eliah Aranoff-Spencer to create this updated guide, published on Medium.

Have a self-quarantine plan

At this point we’re talking about a spectrum, from choosing a work-at-home option (if you’re fortunate enough to have that choice) to a full-on home quarantine. The CDC has a page of recommendations for those who stay home with a suspected case of COVID-19.

What if you’ve been in close contact with someone with COVID-19? Stay inside and closely monitor yourself for 14 days.

“Someone in my house has it. What now?” Viral load matters. That means the fewer viral droplets that enter your system, the milder the severity of your case may be. So if a member of your household contracts the virus, it’s imperative that they separate from others in a quarantine room.

Is it safe to sell cannabis amid COVID-19?

Cannabis business operators must consult their county public health guidance, as well as state, federal and World Health Organization guidance, to ensure sanitary operations.

Sanitation measures include paid sick leave for ill workers, staying home with a fever, use of gloves, hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, physical distancing of staff and patrons, heightened cleaning and disinfecting, separate money handlers, and much more.

Why are we doing this? Isn’t everyone eventually going to get it?

The point isn’t to seal up the virus in a jar, or halt it at our borders. That moment has passed. What we’re all working to do now is make sure the infections don’t all hit at once and overwhelm our limited medical supplies and hospital capacity.

If 100 people require a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, and the ICU can only handle 15 at a time, 85 people may die needlessly. If the infections in those 100 people are spread out over many weeks and months, though, we can get most of them through this alive.

The Washington Post has one of the best visual explanations of why we’re all working to flatten the curve. And it seems to be working in places where it’s been in effect for a while, like Washington state.

The New York Times has mapped who’s staying home and who’s not:

We’ve seen some questions on our story about changing travel patterns across the U.S. during the coronavirus outbreak, questioning the comparison of cities with areas where people have to drive longer for necessities. https://t.co/N2L25yz3ht

COVID-19’s effect on cannabis product supplies

Because all legal cannabis products are produced within the state in which they’re sold, industry experts aren’t expecting a shortage of actual cannabis due to import slowdowns.

That’s not to say there won’t be shortages or supply interruptions in certain products. Most vape batteries and wholesale vape cartridges are manufactured in China. Those supply chains have already seen slowdowns and interruptions due to quarantines impacting the Chinese manufacturing sector.

The US imports about 30 million Chinese vape pens and cartridges every month. Most shipments stopped due to the annual Chinese New Year shutdown in mid-January and haven’t fully resumed due to the coronavirus.

Will COVID-19 impact 4/20 events?

The answer is yes. Organizers of 4/20 celebrations, which are now less than five weeks away, are already considering how a wider outbreak of COVID-19 could impact their events. Some have begun postponements or cancellations. We’re tracking major events and cancellations at The best 4/20 events of North America 2020.

One cannabis store manager told Leafly he was putting a food truck ordered for 4/20 on hold because of health concerns. 4/20 festivals were already changing and evolving due to the expansion of legalization. The coronavirus outbreak may further accelerate that change in ways that are hard to predict right now.

Self-isolating? Order cannabis online with Leafly Pickup or Delivery

What about legalization campaigns?

Depending on how long the COVID-19 social distancing era lasts, we may see more cancellations of larger events, gatherings, and festivals moving into summer. Larger-scale shopping malls and commercial districts may see a downturn in pedestrian traffic. That may affect the ability of signature gatherers to bank enough names to qualify legalization initiatives by a given deadline.

Leafly’s Election 2020 page has a full rundown of all the state legalization campaigns currently aiming at the November 2020 ballot.

Cannabis and self-isolation

Start do-it-yourself projects, as well as enjoy some stoner entertainment to improve your mood.

DIY cannabis

Also, whip up some cannabutter to turn smokeables into edibles.

Stoner entertainment for self-isolation

You’re inside, you’re bored, we get it. Try these on for size:

And don’t forget to use Leafly Pickup and Delivery to get the most out of your chill time.

Coronavirus has prompted many to take precautions against contracting the virus. Here's what we know about cannabis and COVID-19.

Can You Smoke Weed Leaves and Get High?

It’s probably no surprise you can smoke weed leaves, but the real question is – will it get you high? Also, how strong is the high? Are certain types of leaves better for smoking than others? Should I dry/cure my leaves before smoking them?

There are lots of questions, and I intend on answering as many of them as I can in this post.

The Confusion About What Part of The Plant You Smoke

There are a lot of people who don’t actually realize what part of this plant is being smoked. Many people think the leaf is what is actually smoked. In reality, the bud of the plant is what’s commonly smoked.

This may seem comical to someone who is more familiar with cannabis, but I totally understand why people might think people are smoking leaves. The weed leaf has been the iconic symbol for weed for decades. It’s on hats, shirts, posters, and a million other things. How many times do you see a picture of a bud on a shirt? Much Less. Also, other smokable plants like tobacco are harvested for their leaves so there’s a logical connection there too.

So, the bud is what is commonly smoked, but that still leaves the question of whether or not you can smoke the leaves of a cannabis plant. And perhaps the more important question – will it actually get you high?

Types of Weed Leaves: Fan Leaves, Sugar Leaves, and Trimmings

Not all weed leaves are created equal. All types of leaves are necessary for the health of the plant, but sugar leaves are what you really want if you’re looking to smoke some leaves. I’m going to break down the most common types of leaves you’ll come across.

Sugar Leaves / Trimmings

This is the good stuff. Sugar leaves are going to be found near the buds. These leaves are typically the smaller ones. The name sugar leaf comes from the fact that they can be covered in trichomes (i.e. sticky icky) giving them a sugary white appearance. These trichomes contain THC.

I bundle trimmings together with sugar leaves. Trimmings can refer to anything you trim off a plant, but in this case, I’m referring to the leaves that are growing through the buds. In this case, you don’t cut off the entire leaf, but rather trim the parts of the leaf that are sticking out through the bud.

Both of these can be full of trichomes and are totally smokable. It’s not going to get you high like bud would, but some enough good sugar leaves or trimmings could certainly get the job done.

Fan Leaves

Fan leaves grow farther away from the buds and can get pretty large. These leaves are vital for soaking up light, but unfortunately, they do not contain nearly the same amount of THC-filled trichomes as sugar leaves.

Some fan leaves may have more than other so it doesn’t hurt to give them a look. Check the stems as these can sometimes be a source of trichomes. In the end, I really don’t suggest smoking fan leaves if your intention is to get high. It would just take too much to be effective. Smoking so much would probably make you light headed before it would get you high.

Making Hash or Edibles w/ Weed Leaves

The idea of having to smoke so much plant matter to get high has led a lot of people to use their trim leaves to make hash or edibles. This allows you to concentrate the THC so you don’t have to consume so much.

Edibles

Making edibles with trim is mostly the same as making edibles with buds. The main difference is you’re going to have to use more material. It can also be difficult to gauge the strength of the edibles so don’t go overboard. You can find recipes for edibles easily online. Just substitute the bud for trim.

Hash

Using trim to make hash is common practice for most commercial growers. The sugar leaves and trim just have too much THC to simply throw it away.

Be very careful if you are planning to make hash. I do not recommend using solvents to make concentrates (like BHO) unless you have training and a proper lab to make it. Instead, try making bubble hash. It creates a terrific product without using solvents or even heat.

Eating Weed Leaves

If you really want to know more about eating weed to get high then I recommend you read my article specifically on the subject. Put simply, while you could get high from just eating weed leaves, it is a really terrible way to get high. You would have to eat a lot of leaves and most of the THCa would never get converted to THC and it would just pass through your digestive system. Again, if you want to know more about this check out the link to my article above.

When is the Best Time in the Plant’s Life Cycle to Smoke the Leaves?

THC is produced at certain times during the plant’s life cycle. The plant goes through further changes as the leaf is dried and cured. Most people agree the best time to smoke a weed leaf is after it’s cured.

Cured

After a plant has reached its full maturity it is ready to be harvested. At this time, the plant is cut down and allowed to dry out. Once it’s dry, cannabis is usually stored in an airtight container to sit and cure. This mellows out the flavors and makes it less harsh on your throat.

Smoke weed leaves after they’re cured will give you the most amount of THC content while maintaining an easy and mellow smoke.

Upon Harvesting

If you don’t wait until the leaves are cured you are going to be in for a pretty harsh smoke. With that said, it will probably still get you high if you smoke enough sugar leaves, but you probably won’t enjoy it.

Before Flowering

Smoking a leaf of a cannabis plant that is still in the vegetative state will likely yield no results. Most of the trichomes containing THC are developed during the flowering stage.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article then here are a few of my other articles you may enjoy:

Can You Smoke Weed Leaves and Get High? It’s probably no surprise you can smoke weed leaves, but the real question is – will it get you high? Also, how strong is the high? Are certain types of