Since this job pays me by the word, let’s begin by stating the obvious: This whole coronavirus situation has been, to put it mildly, extremely stressful for almost every human being walking the earth. There are certain particulars of general interest, such as the need for social distancing and washing hands like you’re Pontius Pilate with OCD. We’re all keen to flatten the curve (which is unusual for a state whose people love to accentuate curves—often with illegal silicone injections in someone’s garage). The physical challenges are obvious, but less so is the exponentially enhanced degree of mental strain; it can be devastating to a population in which so many are already on the edge.
It’s the kind of calamitous, catchall crisis upon which everyone can superimpose his or her own set of fears. People are wondering if they’ll still have jobs after this, and there are no easy answers. Hell, there aren’t any answers. In some cases, it might be better if someone just said, “Yeah, you’re screwed.” Instead, the current ambiguity can drive you crazy. We are all learning how easily everything can be lost. Every industry is under siege, with individual companies within each industry fighting their own personalized battles. If you’re an independent contractor, like me, lifestyles that were already unpredictable on a day-to-day basis have become like self-immolation in a funhouse mirror: equal parts painful and utterly bizarre.
In times like these, even the most ardent drug warriors may find themselves wishing they had a little something to take the edge off. In moments of crisis, and also celebration, it’s natural to gather with friends and commiserate with cannabis. But, as with everything else, our habits must change. Blunts, joints, spliffs, one-hitters, water pipes and dab rigs are all forbidden. The virus is spread by bodily fluids, so there can be no sharing of implements, no shotgunning and no hotboxing. Take a tip from the Rasta community, where it has long been common practice for people to roll their own. Fun fact: there are fewer than 20 cases of coronavirus currently in Jamaica, which has a population of nearly three million. This is a much lower percentage than most other countries. Why? I have no idea.
There’s a lot of disinformation floating around, so let’s be clear: The cannabis plant and products derived from it have absolutely no effect on preventing or treating COVID-19. However, it can be useful in dealing with things like muscle soreness or cramping, to say nothing of the decisive effect it can have on mental health, which is something we must all be (literally) mindful of. Since we’re seeing shortages of hand sanitizer, I’d suggest making your own: one part pure aloe gel (buy a bottle, or just pulverize plant pulp) and two parts rubbing alcohol (good luck finding any of that). Add a couple drops of essential oil, such as lavender or peppermint—a squirt of CBD oil is nice, too, and the same goes for your hand soap.
As it stands, it seems likely that we’ll be sequestered for at least a couple of weeks and, personally, I’m already stir-crazy. The communal aspect of pot use is a major part of the culture, but social distancing protocols mandate we shelve all that—for now. Do not despair. The next few weeks will be the weirdest of our lives, but everything will be okay in the end. Probably.