Dear Ngaio,

Is it okay for me to smoke cannabis during this pandemic? I keep hearing different things.

—N. Flammation

This is an excellent question. Let me preface this response by reminding folks that I am not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. I specialize in cannabis advice, not medical advice. But here is what we know: COVID 19 is primarily a respiratory disease. The virus gets into your lungs and causes severe inflammation and respiratory distress. So keeping your lungs healthy is the most important thing.

While cannabis works well as an anti-inflammatory, smoke (of any kind, weed or cigarettes or a forest fire) is a lung irritant. All of the experts I know (like Dr. Junella Chin) recommend cutting back on smoking in general, and not smoking at all if you have any symptoms.

But don’t fret, there are plenty of other ways to get high. Yes, vaporizing is easier on the lungs than smoking, but really, this is probably the best time to start using tinctures and edibles.

Tinctures take effect almost as fast as a bong hit in most cases (your body absorbs the THC through the membranes in your mouth and gums), while edibles take longer to take effect, but the effects are stronger and last longer.

And since you probably don’t have much to do today, a stronger, longer session is probably exactly what you need. If you are new to edibles, the good folks at Leafly have made a chart. Have fun, wash your hands, be safe.

Dear, Ngaio,

I want to buy some weed, but I am hella worried about this pandemic. What should I do?

 —Ann Ziety

Don’t panic. Weed has been declared an essential service. Who knew? Anyone else remember when pot was a gateway drug that would lead children and white women directly to the murky underworld of hard drugs and opiate addiction? Just me? OK. But now, if you live in a state with legal weed, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem when visiting a dispensary.

Just follow the guidelines: Stay six feet away from other people. Wear a mask, don’t stick your nose all up in the jar (Yes, I know I wrote a piece about bringing back the “delicatessen style” dispensary, but times are different now),  and use some hand sanitizer after you leave the club.

Also, many states are doing delivery and curbside pickup, so you might not even have to leave the house or your car. Please tip your delivery person. They’re doing you a great service.

A courtier from Goddess Delivers drops a package in San Francisco. (David Downs/Leafly)
Couriers from Ganja Goddess safely deliver legal THC across California. (David Downs/Leafly)

With a few precautions and a lot of common sense, you can ride out this pandemic in a cloud of bliss. For more tips and advice, read this article. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Don’t swap droplets with strangers.

Next time—Ngaio answers your burning questions about: not overdosing on edibles; and strain-specific edible effects

American comedian, musician, writer, actor, activist, juggler, and publisher Ngaio Bealum’s cannabis life advice column for Leafly runs twice a month. Ask him questions in the comments below, or by emailing


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