Although much evidence exists proving marijuana a powerful bronchodilator, experts recommend toking less, not at all, while Covid-19 rages. For one, smokers and vapers are likely to suffer more severe cases of novel coronavirus, meaning the infection could be notably worse. Since the virus attacks respiratory function, health experts consider this warning dire.
While weed delivery grows in popularity during lockdown, there are potentially serious risks to consider. Most would just advise consuming cannabis differently, such as using oil, eating edibles, or even swallowing capsules, and still getting its abundant benefits, so avoiding smoking may prove wise. Many experts have been focusing on the risks to older folks, those sick already with compromised immunity.
However, doctors are not only warning chronically ill patients anymore, such as those with diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and more, they are also warning smokers that the danger of infection might be higher than for healthier folks. Electronic cigarettes and other vaporizers might compromise respiratory function, and smoking famously causes shortness of breath and other lung afflictions.
Inhaling smoke, whether cannabis or tobacco, will make your lungs more susceptible to infection. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, vapors and smoke introduce toxic chemicals into the lungs, changing cell metabolism, suppressing immune response, and causing extensive harm. What do we know so far, though? How does smoking marijuana increase Covid-19 risk?
Increased Chance of Disease Progression
Emerging from the outbreak in China, data shows symptoms notably more severe in infected smokers, as well as those living in areas of high pollution. The same is true of those puffing chemical-laden vaporizers. A Wuhan-based study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, lists smoking as a major factor contributing to worsened outcomes in sick patients.
What is more, quoting Stanton Glantz, Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, “The odds of disease progression, including to death, were 14 times higher among people with a history of smoking.” The call now is on the public to quit vaping and smoking, and to avoid secondhand smoke wherever possible.
Because folks have only been vaping a short while, it being a modern phenomenon, nobody really knows much about its long-term health effects. We know more about the effects of using tobacco for decades, a subject of much study already. Now, scientists are studying marijuana. Vaping too. Already, over 2,000 vapers fell ill with severe lung damage, some died, just a year or two ago.
Stronger Rate of Hospitalization
As Covid-19 continues its spread through populations, data on those patients who smoke should soon offer some clarity. However, evidence’ suggesting poorer outcomes is already available. Director of outpatient pulmonary care at Tufts Medical Center, Dr. Sucharita Kher, said that e-vapes used in animal studies suggests that it “adversely affects the lung cells’ ability to fight against a virus.”
In light of this, it makes sense that more smokers also end up in hospital for common influenza than non-smokers do, making the habit seem particularly good bedfellows with respiratory infections. The Chinese data does not show smoking worsening Covid-19 outcomes in those with pneumonia. It is important we all slow down and interpret all study results with both caution and reason.
According to Dr. Alexa Mieses, a family physician based in Durham, North Carolina, vaporizers that contain nicotine or tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, “definitely has short-term health consequences.” Mieses expects other studies to emerge with similar links associated long-term. The world knows the harm of smoking tobacco, but long-term studies do not yet exist for “relatively” new vaping.
Threat to General Health
Inhaling vapors over years would more than likely lead to these and similar outcomes. Most importantly, smoking and vaping do not only affect respiratory function, but they put your overall health in jeopardy too. Anyone wishing to quit, however, should do so with the help of his or her family doctor. Vaping is an ineffective aid for quitting smoking. In fact, vapers likely smoke cannabis and tobacco too.
To date, many drugs have approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help folks quit smoking. However, there are none to help quit vaping, and since it weakens immune health so, it only puts you at further risk of contracting a severe form of Covid-19. Despite this, health experts recommend quitting entirely, and for cannabis users to change their method of consumption.
Marijuana delivery is more popular than ever before, especially now with lockdown. You cannot visit a dispensary in Santa Monica until freedom of movement returns, but you can still order weed delivery. However, since smoking is a risk factor for novel coronavirus, perhaps consider making your own oils and edibles with your favorite buds instead of smoking them, or ingest it any other way.