Retailers have reported a significant shift from smoking and vaping cannabis to consuming edibles during the coronavirus pandemic.

Californian delivery service Eaze said that edibles now account for 30% of all sales, up from 15% a few weeks ago. Sales of bud and vapes have decreased accordingly.

Sites like Weedmaps tell a similar story, as consumers seek consumption options that place less strain on their lungs.

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causes a respiratory disease called COVID-19, which makes it difficult for people to breathe when it infects them. A Chinese medical journal reported that smokers experienced more severe symptoms than non-smokers after contracting the coronavirus.

That has inspired many cannabis users to switch to edibles or tinctures in order to eliminate any stress on the lungs. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is among the trade groups urging people to avoid smoking and explore alternate ingestion methods.

The advice has been similar around the world. “Smoking presents unique risks in the context of COVID-19 due to the impacts on lung function,” said Dr Marta Rychert, senior research at Massey University in New Zealand.

She urged medical cannabis patients to switch to oils or tinctures during the coronavirus pandemic in order to reduce the risk of aggravating their lungs. Experts also advised against sharing bongs, vapes or joints, and to avoid drug dealers that have face-to-face contact with many consumers and regularly handle cash, as they have a high potential of transmitting the virus.

New Zealand is set to begin its medical marijuana program next month. It has just confirmed plans to reverse a law banning cannabis vaporizers, allowing distributors to import vapes and cartridges and sell them to patients.

However, patients are encouraged to opt against vaping in the immediate future as authorities battle to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The global death toll has now gone past 40,000 and there have been more than 800,000 cases worldwide.

Cannabis retailers have been deemed essential services in most US states and Canadian provinces, allowing them to continue trading, and they can expect soaring demand for edibles.

Elsewhere, former NFL star Kyle Turley has come under fire for claiming that CBD can cure the coronavirus.

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