Medical Marijuana and Covid-19
Yes, medical marijuana is ‘essential’
After Gov. Rick DeSantis issued a “safer-at-home” order for Florida, people were left questioning which businesses would be considered essential. The uncertainty led many local medical marijuana dispensaries to see an uptick in sales, as patients scrambled to stock up on their medicine. Vinit Patel, Regional Dispensary Operations Manager of Curaleaf, said the dispensary, which has a location in Port Charlotte, saw a spike in orders over a month ago after DeSantis issued the order. “There was a quick shoot up in orders because people were expecting to be locked up at home for a while,” Patel said. “People were trying to get as much medicine as they could.”
He said as more news came out, and more influence on staying at home and limiting exposure, Curaleaf came back to a baseline of sales that they’re familiar with. Lynn Ricci, Director of Communications for Trulieve medical marijuana dispensary, which has a location in Port Charlotte, said the Office of Medical Marijuana showed a spike in sales in mid-to-late March, though the most recent data shows signs of slowing down. Despite a slight increase in demand, Patel said, Curaleaf hasn’t experienced an increase in wait time, mainly because they have pivoted how they operate. Curaleaf is offering curbside delivery and not having any customers inside the store. Patients are encouraged to remain in their vehicles. They have the option to order curbside, call ahead, or order online.
Medical marijuana: What it is, how to get it, public perception
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the term “medical marijuana” refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant, or its basic extracts, to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.
“The medical cannabis flower by itself is no different than the marijuana flower overall. The plant does not know that it is a medical plant. It simply knows that it is a marijuana plant. Where the difference comes in is in the formulation of products. Through production and processing, marijuana is formulated for a variety of medical impacts. Some strains work better on neurological conditions and therefore make for better oil processing for things like seizures. Some strains work better on anxiety. Some medical patients need high-potency THC, some need less THC potency with higher levels of CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. When we refer to medical-grade marijuana, we’re referring to a wide spectrum of specially formulated products. In the end, however, it all comes from the same plant, and that plant doesn’t know that it has been designated “medical,” Marcus said.
Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spike
In the days and weeks leading up to stay-in-place orders and lockdowns, legal cannabis sales spiked. But lung health experts warn that smoking marijuana regularly could increase a person’s risk of contracting COVID-19, and also have more severe symptoms and complications from the disease, given evidence on tobacco and COVID-19, and what we already know about how heavy marijuana-smoking can impact the lungs.
Smoking marijuana could also make a person’s COVID-19 symptoms worse compared to a non-smoker, Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, a pulmonologist and national spokesperson for the American Lung Association, told Insider. Galiatsatos said that people who smoke marijuana regularly are more likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms because evidence suggests marijuana smoking can cause cells in the lungs to die. These cells typically promote germ removal and immune system response, so having fewer of them could lead to chronic health problems like respiratory infections.
Here’s what you should know about CBD and heart health
While CBD has grown in popularity across the world and has shown plenty of promise in treating diseases and increasing people’s quality of life, studies are still in their infancy and the compound remains without FDA approval in the United States. The one condition the Feds have approved for CBD treatment is epilepsy. With all other treatments, CBD should be administered with care and with the approval of a doctor.
The Health line reports that some aspects of CBD make it worth investigating when it comes to heart disease prevention, like the compound’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant features. High blood pressure, one of the leading factors for hypertensive heart disease, is easily influenced by stress, one of the main aspects that CBD products treat.
A study conducted on healthy human subjects demonstrated that CBD managed to lower their blood pressure. These subjects’ results were compared to other volunteers who were given a placebo and who reported no change in their stress level. While this is good news, the effect of CBD on humans with heart conditions or predispositions to these kinds of diseases remains unknown. As usual, before taking CBD as medication for serious conditions, it’s very important to have an open conversation with a doctor who might prescribe dosage and a product with your specific case in mind.
Regulation and reputation with Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia
Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia is the peak industry organization and voice for Australia’s licensed medicinal cannabis industry. MCIA seeks to build an industry that enhances wellbeing through facilitating access to quality Australian medical cannabis products for patients, where the industry and its products are built on sound science and underpinned by industry processes that deliver confidence in the sector and sustainable growth. We support the industry through:
- Working collaboratively with regulators to promote and shape a framework supportive of delivering Australian quality products to Australian patients in a timely and affordable manner;
- Building confidence with patients, doctors, the healthcare sector, community and government through the MCIA Code of Conduct and other technical guidance documents;
- Advocating for key policies and outcomes to support the sector in areas such as patient access, regulatory efficiency, harmonization and compliance, and product integrity;
- Increasing awareness and knowledge through events such as ACannabis, industry reports
- Networking and information opportunities for members; and
- Identifying and supporting local and global growth opportunities for the industry.