Under the stay at home order we have been propelled into a slower-paced world; a world where the future has been put on a temporary hold. Living life one day at a time has been beneficial on several levels for many of us, and we have been able to better appreciate our neighbors, families and friends and spend quality time with our children.
We have had to be resourceful and find ways to navigate the flurry of media on this new, unknown contagious disease. We have had to find ways to manage the anxiety and sadness of mass illness and death, a huge surge in unemployment, and the serious calls for a change in long-time racial inequality.
The new normal of Covid-19 has tested everyone’s resilience, and marijuana has for many people been a great way to unwind and relax. It’s been hard to switch off from the barrage of news updates on Coronavirus, but switching off has been essential. A silver lining of lockdown has arguably been the gift of unplugging and, in fact, boredom can be a good thing. Research shows that boredom allows our minds to breathe and create, and in The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom is Good, Sandi Mann writes, ‘Our cultural attachment to our phones is paradoxically both destroying our ability to be bored and preventing us from ever being truly entertained.’
Another silver lining of Covid-19 has been the environment. Fewer cars on the road and airplanes in the sky is giving our planet a desperately needed chance to regenerate.
This is certainly a time to remind ourselves to be aware of our mental health. There are many different ways to strengthen our mental health – from exercise, to meditation, to talking with friends and neighbors. Another way is experimenting with plant-based medicine. In fact, one item added to the weekly shopping list has been marijuana. According to cannabis industry analytics firm Headset, sales of pot in the U.S. saw a spike in mid-March of this year, proving the need for weed and other marijuana-based products has increased substantially during the lockdown. The difference right now is that as Covid-19 is a disease affecting the pulmonary system, many people are following medical advice and are reducing or stopping smoking marijuana. Instead, edibles such as gummies and cookies have become very popular with consumers.
Most Cannabis physicians will say that your choice of cannabis product and dosage will depend on what you are treating, but you should always check with your physician first regarding dosage. If you are choosing to go with edibles one thing to be aware of is the time it takes for your body to absorb the THC into your blood stream for you to notice the effects. As everybody responds to CBD and THC differently, depending on their genes, gender, weight and many other factors, it is best to start with a smaller amount and build up to achieve the effect you desire. The other thing that I notice with gummies is that different brands can affect you very differently, even if they have the same dosage. You want to be cautious in this sense because the dosage amount doesn’t always determine the strength of how the buzz or effect will react with you. It’s a very individual experience.
You may choose to buy gummies that contain CBD only, the non-psychoactive part of the plant so that the dosages are easier. Other people say they prefer gummies that are a blend of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive part of the plant, and CBD. There is, of course, no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to taking marijuana. Whatever the personal reasons for using cannabis, or CBD, possibly for the first time, either for medical reasons or simply as a way to regain a sense of inner calm, you should buy with a lower concentration to start.
To navigate my way through the retail side of marijuana and lockdown, I spoke to Natasha, a mom of four, who has been homeschooling. Natasha shared that she has hit the wall on many occasions and gummies have really helped her to stay calm and to relax. ‘When you have four young children all requiring a lot of support with their learning and emotionally you need a little something to pick you up from time to time.’ For Natasha, gummies are a way to reclaim some mental space for herself, and they have the added bonus that they help her be more patient when her patience is running out.
I asked Natasha to share what she recommended for moms who are homeschooling and want to try out marijuana that can be consumed. My first question was on timing and frequency. About when to take your dose of CBD, Natasha said, ‘it sounds like an oxymoron but hemp based coffee or CBD with coffee is a real thing! I love how caffeine boosts my energy levels but I don’t actually enjoy the jitteriness of caffeine. What I do is take a dropper of CBD and that way I notice that the jitters are less strong. I use Hempfully CBD ( https://hempfullycbd.com ). Hempfully CBD is a hemp infused oil that is made on an organic farm in Colorado. If you are not a coffee fan, you can also buy hemp-based tea, which is tea infused with hemp flowers that when steeped in water cannabinoids from the plant are released.’
So Natasha recommends first thing in the morning as a great time to take CBD because the benefits can take effect throughout the day, such as heightened concentration and reduced anxiety. She recommends beginning with a small dose and building up. One dose a day is usually what is recommended but it depends on what you are treating, and always check with a physician.
I asked Natasha what brands she recommends trying during lockdown. Her answer to a lovely chill is Mr Moxey’s Mints that are CBD only infused mints. ‘What is really cool is the combination of other herbs which blend with the cannabinoid CBD so you get a really great buzz.’
Wyld Gummies such as Strawberry or Marionberry provide a gentle, but strong buzz that helps ease anxieties and make you more focused and uplifted. Wyld are a brand where the effects are quite strong, so it’s best to always only have a half or less at a time and build if necessary. Kiva is another favorite of Natasha’s. Another brand she suggested is the Camino. She believes ‘The Camino Kiva is the perfect daytime gummy at 5mg THC. It gives a mild to strong buzz but is quite energizing, so it helps when you have a mound of cleaning to do!’ Natasha did say however, that ‘sometimes the next day, after having a Camino Kiva, my anxiety levels are higher. The effect at the time is wonderful and ultimately they induce a deep restful sleep, but I do notice a feeling of anxiousness the next day so I am leaning away from these at the moment.’
For highs you can sip on, Natasha suggested Wyld, as they make a great sparkling water CBD infused drink in four flavors: blood orange, raspberry, lemon and blackberry. Drinking one of these in the afternoon, she finds reduces her desire to drink alcohol and, while not completely removing the urge to have an alcoholic drink, she notices much less of an interest in alcohol.
If edibles are not for you, CBD is sold in many different forms and each one will react at different speeds:
Oral topicals: typically take effect within minutes but can be active for hours in the area on to which the topical was applied.
Oral tinctures: Can take somewhere between 15 and 45 minutes after consumption. Tinctures can last up to a couple of hours.
Hemp flowers: Can be active within minutes but only last for up to an hour.
CBD edibles: Edibles take longer to be digested because they must be processed by the liver. Once active, edibles can be active for several hours.
Some of the reported benefits of taking CBD oil supports healthy inflammation reduction throughout the body, supports sleep, supports balance and overall elevated mood, maintains balanced energy levels. ·
The question on so many minds is how will life be in a post Covid world? I am hopeful that we can start to rebuild our world in a more ethical, fair way respecting all people and the environment. We have much work to do, but history has shown that innovation is born out of struggle and indeed the world has survived many pandemics before. If marijuana can help reduce stress and enhance mental well being, as it has for thousands of years, then right now that can only be a positive thing.
1 Jamie Ducharme, ‘Being Bored Can be Good for You – If You Do It Right. Here’s How.’ January 4th, 2019, Time Magazine.
NOTE: All the above are opinions of the interview subject. You should always consult your physician before trying any new substance.
Hetty Clark is an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist, Singer songwriter and Writer. She is from the UK but lives in Los Angeles.