Cannabis and coronavirus 2019-nCov
The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), or Wuhan market coronavirus is a virus that belongs to coronaviruses family, where there are many viruses and some of them have affected humans before. It was initially detected in December 2019, although it did not jump to the global media until January 2020. Its symptomatology is mainly related to acute respiratory disease and severe pneumonia, and it can even cause death. Currently, most cases are occurring in the point of origin, the Chinese city of Wuhan and its surrounding areas, although the WHO (World Health Organization) has declared a global emergency. In this article we will cover the implications that this new virus can have for marijuana users.
How is the new coronavirus transmitted?
Initially, this new Wuhan coronavirus appears to have been transmitted from an animal to a human in the food market of Wuhan, China. However, later studies have confirmed that this new coronavirus is also transmitted from human to human, mainly through close contact with a patient or by touching objects that have been in contact with the patient.
Although almost all cases are being concentrated in the same Chinese area, it is important to be aware of what may happen in the future, as the spread may continue to more geographical areas and impact a much larger population. The greatest risk at this time is mutation, if the virus is able to mutate and become more powerful or resistant will be much more dangerous.
What does the coronavirus mean for a marijuana user?
As a virus that is spread primarily through contact, marijuana users are a potential risk group. If there are any affected persons in your area it is better to have some precautions. The fact that pot smokers share the smoke stuff with other people make it risky. It is better to act in safe way and follow a few guidelines to avoid falling into any unnecessary risk.
I’m a Cannabis user, what should I do to avoid risks?
These are common sense recommendations, we are not going to give any magic recipes or collaborate with the fake news that promise this virus can be cured with cocaine or bleach. Here you can find some simple recommendations applied to the Cannabis users.
Do not share joints with other people
The clearest recommendation is not to share a joint with more people, one of the most direct ways of contracting the coronavirus is through fluid contact. When somebody smokes a joint there always is going to be some saliva or sweat left on the mouthpiece, once that joint passes into the mouth of another user there is a very high risk of being infected, since the fluids of one person come into contact with those of the next. In fact, a joint that is shared with many users and only one is infected can infect all the others.
Do not share personal consumption utensils
If we talk about shared pipes, bongs and vaporizers the risk is very high as with joints, because it is exactly the same risk, the fluids of one of the consumers can come into direct contact with those of others, and this is the most direct contagion route.
However, this goes beyond this, the contact of body fluids can occur in a more indirect way, they are the so-called macro liquids, which are deposited on objects and are infectious for a while (authorities talk about 5 days). For example, if a person who has the virus touches the mucous membranes of his or her face and does not wash his or her hands immediately, any objects he or she touches afterwards are potentially dangerous to transmit the virus. For this to happen, another person must come into direct contact with that object and then put its hand to its mouth, nose, wounds, or eyes.
Usually weed smokers can share lighters, rolling papers, the marijuana or hashish itself to be consumed, mouthpieces, anything that might come in contact with another infected person and then with you. Keep in mind that even if you don’t directly share body fluid, it can pass from mucus to hands, then to the object, hands of another person, and finally mucus of the latter user, incurring risky behavior.
That said, if an infected person handles any object, such as chopping marijuana or rolling a joint for someone else, they can pose a risk of infection.
Do not share space with people who may be infected
Good smoking often involves coughing. Every time a person coughs or sneezes, it will release an amount of body fluids into the air, this is another vehicle for the coronavirus and others to be transmitted through the air, this is called micro liquid contagion.
Being in an enclosed space with more people that may be infected while using marijuana is a risky activity. If one of the people present is infected and coughs or sneezes, the chances of spreading the virus to others are very high. If we talk about marijuana use with others in open spaces, the risk is somewhat reduced, but still there.
Tips for marijuana users to avoid the coronavirus
Certainly if no cases have been detected in your country, the chances of actual contagion are minimal or almost non-existent. The same if there are a few cases so there is no need to generate alarm, in addition the mortality of this new coronavirus is being kept lower than others that humanity has suffered before, such as SARS. In general, the people who die seem to be elderly people or those with previous health problems.
If your area or country has already seen dozens of cases, it’s time to start taking things a little more seriously. Here are the recommendations for marijuana users who want to avoid the coronavirus:
The most effective method is wash your hands with soap frequently, at least for 20 seconds and being sure of cleaning complicated areas like under your nails. This gesture is the simplest and most effective against this virus and many more diseases.
Do not touch your face or wounds, this is a little more complicated, on average we touch our face many times each day, often without realizing it, so really not touching your face requires much effort and attention. One recommendation is to follow the first advice above, so in case of touching your face at least it will be with clean hands, and you will have avoided the risk.
If there is risk in your area, under no circumstances share a joint or accept to consume from others, this also includes pipes, bongs, vaporizers and any other object that may be a virus transmission vehicle. Also, do not accept that someone else gives you a rolled joint, even if this person has not smoked from it, there may be a very high risk as the saliva can be on the rolling paper glue. In this kind of situation it is best to make your own joint and consume it without sharing it with others.
Avoid contact with wild animals, as the virus initially jumped from an animal to a human. If you make contact with any of them, wash your hands thoroughly and as soon as possible.
Avoid contact, staying in the same place, or risky marijuana use with people who are or may have been affected. It would also be advisable to take these precautions with people who have recently traveled to a high incidence coronavirus area. It is currently believed that it takes 14 days to know if you are well, during which time an infected person may have no symptoms and yet still be able to infect others.
If you live in a clearly affected by the virus area, it is best to use only your marijuana and only at home, go out only as much as necessary and always wear a mask and disposable gloves. Do not buy anything on the black market and try to be self-sufficient with your own buds. Buy only sealed utensils such as paper that come into plastic and do not share anything with others.