In this scary and trying time that’s become our reality, it’s hard to get most basic house essentials (i.e. toilet paper) let alone medical prescriptions, which still count as extremely important. Doctors are held up with consultations for coughs and fevers that may or may not be due to coronavirus, and refilling what might be deemed as an unnecessary prescription may not be in the cards.
This is leaving medical cannabis patients, many who suffer from chronic and terminal illness, left without supply. The “shelter in place” regulations, which oddly enough count liquor stores to be essential businesses, require that some medical cannabis shops have limited hours or be closed altogether. This makes it harder, if not near-impossible, for medical cannabis patients to access sufficient amounts of medical marijuana. “Since more and more people are choosing to stay in their homes, there has been a surge in medical marijuana sales, as well as recreational marijuana where available,” says Kasey Nichols, N.M.D., naturopathic doctor in Arizona and Kansas. “In essence, people are stockpiling cannabis products, much like they are with canned goods and toilet paper.” The result? Potential shortages of medical cannabis products in the nation.
How long will this cannabis shortage last?
A shortage in most things will likely last until this whole thing has come and gone, which some experts predict could be months down the line. The president, however, remains oddly optimistic that everything will be back to normal quickly, and had, at one point, urged an end to the lockdown by Easter. Why he picked that date, we’re not really sure. In fact, statisticians predict that the virus could be at its peak by mid-April. Shivani Amin, M.D., family medicine doctor, pain specialist and expert in medical cannabis, is remaining optimistic that, with the strict lockdown in most states, the curve will flatten by May or June. “This situation really depends on how careful we are as a nation and remain indoors as much as possible to decrease transmission of the virus,” she says.
What should medical cannabis patients do during quarantine?
If you find that you no longer have access to medical cannabis, it’s worth reaching out to your doctor for suggestions on a temporary solution. He or she may recommend that you consider CBD products, which have been shown to address a number of health concerns from anxiety and stress to pain and inflammation. “Although CBD products are not allowed to be advertised as effective for treating a specific medical concern, research is promising in many health conditions,” says Dr. Nichols. “This means that there’s a good chance that CBD could provide relief, or at the very least partial relief, for your health concerns.”
Another benefit of CBD products is the accessibility, especially during a time such as the one we’re living in. “CBD can be shipped directly to the purchaser whereas THC forms of cannabis cannot be legally shipped,” explains Stuart Titus, Ph.D., cannabis expert and CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc.
What should you know before trying CBD?
CBD is not one-size-fits all. There are different classifications of CBD products, such as broad-spectrum CBD, full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolates. “Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains no THC (the ingredient in marijuana that gives you that high feeling), but has many of the other plant cannabinoids and constituents such as terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids, which create an entourage effect with CBD,” explains Dr. Nichols. “Full-spectrum CBD is similar to broad-spectrum but has some THC (less than 0.3% THC) with numerous cannabinoids extracted into the final product and CBD isolates are CBD products that contain 99%+ pure cannabidiol (CBD) without other cannabinoids, plant constituents, and THC contained in the product.” Before settling on CBD type—or a product, it’s best to check in with your healthcare professional, especially if CBD products are taking the place of another medication or supplement.