Does smoking weed really make you more prone to severe COVID 19? We asked the experts.

Does smoking weed really make you more prone to severe COVID 19? We asked the experts.

Stay high, my friends.

VicesApril 29, 2020 By Will Brendza

We’re all stuck at home, without much to do except watch TV, read, go outside for the occasional walk, run or work out, clean the house or practice hobbies.

Which is why cannabis is such a welcome companion these days. The only things we’re allowed to really do, are all activities that cannabis enhances. Its why pot sales have been through the roof through this whole COVID epidemic: People are bored, and they want weed to help assuage that. They need some smoky green goodness to liven up their day-to-day, and make those easily mundane occupations, actually engaging and fun.

And more than that, cannabis is good for reducing anxiety, helping people relax and get better sleep through this strange era.

Call it a crutch, call it a medicine, a drug or a leisure pursuit — whatever you call it, cannabis is helping people get through this crisis. And that is an incontestably positive thing.

But, cannabis is also something to be mindfully consuming right now. COVID-19 has been responsible for almost 30,000 deaths in the US, so far. It is ravaging New York City, shutting down the global economy, and making history day-by-day.

This disease violently attacks people’s respiratory systems. Meaning that, any kind of inflammation within your lungs, puts you at risk of having a more serious reaction to a COVID infection.

“Ask any cannabis clinician and they are telling users to refrain from inhaling — because we don't want to irritate the bronchial system at all right now,” says Katherine Golden, a trained cannabis nurse, and co-founder of Leaf411, a cannabis hotline that answers cannabis and health questions.

“And that goes for whether you're smoking cannabis, or cleaning your house with bleach and inhaling that irritant,” she adds. “Right now, it’s best to just keep away from any inhaled irritant, period.”

It’s a statement that Dr. Dave Gordon, an MD on the Leaf411 advisory board backed up as well, in a Q&A on their website.

“Smoking (combustion) is no doubt a respiratory irritant and can impair barrier function in the lungs, thus potentially increasing your risk of acquiring an infection,” Dr. Gordon says.

So what are cannabis users supposed to do right now? Smoking is how most people consume cannabis: whether that’s via a bong, bowl, vape, pen, joint, blunt or dab rig. It’s the fastest way to get THC into your blood stream, and has immediate pain relief side-effects.

Lucky for us, we live in the golden age of cannabis consumption. We live in a state where there are more cannabis products to consume than there are flavors of crayon. You can eat, drink, swallow or boof your weed in this magic epoch of cannabusiness.

That’s why, in light of the recommendation that people stay away from smoking pot, we at Rooster have assembled a short list of our favorite (and most diverse) non-inhalation cannabis products that you can get your hands on at any dispensary in the state.

Here’s to staying high, and staying healthy.

(Just remember: cannabis absorbs differently into your bloodstream when you consume it versus smoking it. People who are switching from smoking cannabis to eating/swallowing it, need to be careful with dosages. Just because your tolerance to flower is high, doesn’t mean your tolerance to edibles is anything. START SMALL.)

Image courtesy of Lucy Beaugard.


As far as full spectrum THC/CBD salves go, Stratos’ Soothe-ER is hands down the best one I’ve come across. Normally, I slap a little bit of this on my neck before a yoga class, and all the crackling and popping that normally goes on back there, totally stops. It makes a visceral difference, and it’s honestly the product that showed me how useful a cannabis salve can be.

This 1:1 topical contains 300 mgs of THC and 300 mgs of CBD. It’s made with essential oils from arnica, black pepper, clove, helichrysum, lemon, peppermint, and wintergreen, so it smells fantastic, as well as feeling incredible. Great for yoga, massages, joint pain, or, even anxiety — rub a little bit on your temples and the soothing effects of Soothe ER will hug you like a blanket.

Image courtesy of Will Brendza.

Grainwave THC infused-beer

The folks at Ceria Brewing are doing things differently. Founded by the founder of Blue Moon, Keith Villa, this brewing company is dedicated to crafting hoppy non-alcoholic beverages that taste every bit as good as regular beer — maybe even better.

What they lack in ABV, Ceria makes up for in THC. They sell two different THC infused non-alcoholic beers — their Grainwave wheat beer and their Indiewave IPA. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying their IPA (it just released in October of last year), but I have tried the Grainwave. And it was a wonderfully different beer experience: the beer tasted great, and the high was gentle and relaxed.

Of course, it doesn’t come on quite as fast as normal beer does — the THC took about 45 minutes to kick in — but once it did the effects were fantastic.  

Not only do their THC infused brews get your green buzz going, but they also only contain 99 calories each. So you can drink them without the guilt that comes with high calorie alcoholic beers.

Ripple Dissolvables (THC Packets)

The Ripple Dissolvables are awesome for the simple reason that you can use them to make anything a cannabis edible. They are flavorless fast-acting packets of dissolvable THC concentrate. You might recognize them from March’s print issue of Rooster, when we used them to make some DANK blood orange THC popsicles.

Simply tear open the Ripple packet and dump it into whatever you want: your water bottle, your wine at dinner, soup, brownie batter, tea, coffee, literally anything! The packets come in 5mg doses and 10mg doses depending on your preference for strength.

The high is very light and active and comes on gently about a half hour after consumption.

Image courtesy of Lucy Beaugard.

Sleep and Relax Tinctures

Are you anxious? On edge? Has your sleep been shallow? Even non-existent? These are undoubtedly stressful times and there are a lot of people out there who are having trouble unwinding.

Luckily, Stratos makes products specifically for taking that edge off. Their Sleep and Relax tinctures are some of the most effective oral THC products I’ve ever tried. They include an easy-to-dose dropper and come in tasty flavors like citrusy tangerine and light mint chocolate chip.

The Sleep tincture is an Indica-derived product and the Relax is derived from hybrids. Both offer a really laid back, chilled out, meditative high that is perfect for their respective purposes: Sleeping and Relaxation.

Stratos also offers a 1000mg CBD tincture. It won’t get you high, but with a dosage like that, you will undoubtedly feel the effects of the CBD. It’s potent, and it gets the job done. If you want a cannabis product to ease your anxiety or help with sleep, but don’t want the high from active tinctures like Sleep and Relax, try Stratos’ CBD 1000.

IncrEdible Suppositories

You’ve rolled braided joints, smoked out of mega-blunts, hit 12-foot bongs, eaten home-baked brownies, tried the tinctures, the pills, the gummies, the drinks, the patches, you’ve tried just about every way of consuming cannabis there is.

But have you ever boofed it?

Introducing, IncrEdible Wellness’ THC suppository. It’s “Cannabis delivered in a discreet and effective manner.” It’s weed you put in your butt and the package even says, right on the front: “Not for oral consumption.”

But this isn’t for recreational purposes (or, at least, that’s not what cannabis suppositories are supposed to be for). Most of the people using these, are patients suffering from debilitating bouts of pain, cancer and other extreme afflictions. They boof their bud because they have to — not because they want to.

Nevertheless, I understand that people are getting bored out there and hell, a weed suppository might sound like a fun way to spend the evening with your loved one and/or quarantine pal. Unfortunately, the “Applicators” are sold separately, so unless you’ve got one handy, you and your partner in crime are going to have to boof-assist each other.

Desperate times certainly do call for desperate measures.