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Unless you’re 102, this is probably your first pandemic.
The challenges we face in the COVID crisis are both psychological and physiological and we’re addressing them with myriad tools (including Pelotons, power napping, and pie). And more than ever, those tools include cannabis and CBD.
But different products produce different outcomes: The search for a “perfect” cannabis cure may potentially lead to unpleasant effects from taking the “wrong” one that exacerbates the existing issue. Ever worried that you might have COVID? Ever done it really high? Exactly.
Here are some suggestions for products that can help support our most common needs during COVID.
NOTE: Despite my mother’s wishes, I’m not a physician. If you’re struggling with mental health concerns, especially serious depression, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts, please reach out and speak with a professional. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for information on mental health and to locate treatment services in your area, contact the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727).
ALSO NOTE: The following are flower, tincture, and edible options. Since traditional smoking methods may not be feasible for those with children, or in close quarters with non-smokers, now would be a great time to explore desktop vaporizers for flower, or vape oil pen options such as the PAX Era. Both offer variable temperature control to extract taste and effects without smoking the place up, are discreet, and offer a far more respiratory system-friendly experience.
Your stress levels have likely gone up, because… how could they not? Using cannabis for stress is nothing new, but it can be a fine line. You don’t want to get too sleepy during the day, nor too amped up.
Your best best is probably a Hybrid— which is a mix of the two main classes of cannabis, Sativa and Indica. These can take the edge off, while also minimizing or eliminating intoxication.
However, few hybrids are a perfect 50/50 split. If cannabis tends to make you sleepy, look for something that is Sativa dominant. If you get wound up, look for something Indica dominant. Look for Kush, Glue, or Cake variations.
For those adverse to feeling “high”—especially parents juggling technologically rocky remote learning while working a home-based job—look for strains that are CBD dominant, such as AC/DC or Harlequin/HarleTsu.
These days are the stuff of nightmares. To end your late-night staring contests with the ceiling, you want an Indica strain, or perhaps an edible.
Strains which have induced years of unplanned naps include Granddaddy Purple, 9 Lb Hammer, OG Tahoe Kush, and GSC (Girl Scout Cookie). These help relax the mind and body, and encourage couch lock.
Older weed can actually be excellent for sleep. THC denigrates into CBN (cannabinol) when exposed to light, heat, air, and time, so CBN—when paired with the remaining degraded THC—has demonstrated sleep-inducing properties.
If you’re struggling with serious insomnia, edibles or tinctures can offer effects that last longer than those gained from smoking. Both products come in variations of Indica, Hybrid, Sativa, and ratios of THC/CBD. An edible taken 45 to 90 minutes before your targeted bedtime can support solid sleep.
Most gummies and other edibles are made with an alcohol distillate or isolate (which is inexpensive, and brings no cannabis taste to the final product), but I find the full spectrum organic coconut oil used in Laurie + MaryJane’s Fudge to provide what they accurately deem a more “robust experience,” with the wider range of whole plant ingredients in the oil providing deeper, longer-lasting effects.
Dirty Arm Farm’s line of “nanoenhanced” Adabinol syrups, in both THC and CBD versions, act very fast, often within minutes. If you wake up frequently, a small serving in a glass of water by the bedside will knock you right back out.
“Tired and Sad” could be the official motto of 2020. Mood and energy boosting strains are primarily Sativas, such as the poorly named Green Crack, pure strain classics like Durban Poison, or those from the Diesel or Haze families.
I’ve had great luck in supporting my creativity and well-being with Golden Pineapple from the high priest of intentional horticulture, Green Bodhi. It’s high terpene count gives it an aptly named tropical fruit taste, and has been a mainstay in maintaining my mental health.
But if you are prone to mind racing, paranoia, or anxiety when you smoke, go easy on these or any Sativas. Even consider swapping out such strains for a more balanced hybrid, and pairing it with coffee, or other caffeinated beverage.