- Consumers are warning that weed use may be a risk factor for COVID-19, even if marijuana use is moderate and infrequent.
- Marijuana, like tobacco, causes an inflammatory response in the lungs before the new coronavirus can even take hold and produce its own inflammatory response.
- Users are advised not to smoke during the health crisis and to tell their doctor about their marijuana behavior if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
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If you think smoking a joint here and there to relieve stress and anxiety in these difficult times is a good idea, you may want to reconsider. Even occasional marijuana use is a risk factor for COVID-19 patients, doctors warn. Research is already showing that the new coronavirus is worse for smokers and that weeds can be just as dangerous. The problem with smoking substances is that they can cause inflammation of the lungs before the arrival of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which can lead to COVID-19.
“What happens to your airways when you smoke cannabis is that it causes a certain degree of inflammation, very similar to bronchitis, very similar to the type of inflammation that smoking can cause,” doctor- head of the American Lung Association, Dr. Albert Rizzo Told CNN. “Now you have an inflammation of the respiratory tract and you have an additional infection. So yes, your chance of getting more complications is there. ”
“Marijuana burns at a much, much lower temperature than a commercially produced cigarette,” said pulmonologist Dr. Mitchell Glass and spokesperson for the association. “Because of this, the person inhales a certain amount of unburned plant material. “
“So right off the bat, there are those patients who are more and more likely to have a bronchospasm or cough because they have more sensitive airways,” he said.
Doctors warn of other problems with marijuana that could complicate a COVID-19 case. Chronic marijuana users, such as smokers, could develop a cough that could confuse doctors trying to diagnose patients. Coughing is a COVID-19 symptom, but it can be associated with all kinds of medical conditions. People who smoke weed regularly are also at risk of being admitted to hospital in a state of confusion. This could be an additional barrier for physicians seeking to determine whether the patient should be admitted or discharged.
“Now there is a health worker who is dressed, gloved, maybe in a combination of hazardous materials, trying to reach you. These are people who are trying to decide if you should go home, go into the emergency room, or in the worst case, put them on a ventilator, “said Glass. “They want the person who accepts and gives informed consent to completely control their thought processes.”
Doctors advise COVID-19 patients to be honest about their weed consumption with healthcare professionals to ensure a correct diagnosis. A few days ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) discussed the implications of COVID-19 for people with substance use disorders, highlighting weeds among the substances that can make COVID-19 worse. “Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be a particularly serious threat to those who smoke tobacco, marijuana, or vape,” the report notes.
More Americans smoke weed than ever, CNN note, including more people over 65. The elderly are already at risk of developing COVID-19 complications, and many of them suffer from other medical conditions that could worsen their condition if they are infected with the new coronavirus.