Editor’s Spot: The Long-Term Impact of COVID-19
It’s clear that the coronavirus has changed our lives dramatically and that a return to a prepandemic normal is likely impossible. More probably, the virus will permanently change our culture—including medical culture—in ways large and small.
Keeping up to date with the latest information about COVID-19 will remain crucial for cannabis and other health care practitioners for the time to come. The virus may change the way you deliver care, the type of recommendations you make, and the way you interact with patients.
Some of your patients may use cannabis to soothe anxiety related to the pandemic without guidance and despite warnings that smoking or vaping may make their lungs more vulnerable to infection with the virus. Clinicians will need to talk with patients about their use, to recommend that they avoid smoking whenever possible, and advise them about other methods of use. Although there’s little evidence about this vulnerability, research indicates that heavy cannabis smoking can contribute to bronchitis, which could complicate the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
Practitioners also need to have conversations with patients about thus far unsubstantiated reports that cannabis use may help prevent COVID-19 infection. At the same time, they need to be alert to research in progress looking at whether cannabis may help prevent or treat COVID-19.
And since it’s likely that COVID-19 infections will continue to be a part of our experience, the way that cannabis medicine is practiced, like all medicine, will evolve. Telemedicine has become more prominent, and in this issue, contributor Lindsey Getz looks at how it may help providers meet demand and whether it will prove to be a sustainable practice.
As we move ahead, CRx will continue to report on this and other issues related to the impact of COVID-19 on cannabis therapeutics. To stay on top of news and developments, join CRx COVID-19 Forum, a Facebook group we’ve created to share important resources in a more timely way.
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— Kate Jackson