APR 13, 2020 9:47 AM PDT

Smoking Cannabis Increases COVID-19 Risk

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Health experts from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Lung Association have said that smoking cannabis can increase a person’s risk for severe complications of COVID-19. 

Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape.” the National Institute on Drug Abuse said in a recent announcement

Meanwhile, Dr. ALbert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Foundation explained that when smoking cannabis, the airways experience a similar degree of inflammation to smoking cigarettes. Resulting in bronchitis-like symptoms, a person’s chances of having more severe complications from coronavirus increase.

“Marijuana burns at a much, much lower temperature than a commercially made cigarette,” says pulmonologist Dr. Mitchell Glass and spokesperson for the American Lung Association. “Because of that, the person is inhaling a certain amount of unburnt plant material...So right off the bat, there are those patients who would be increasingly susceptible to having a bronchospasm or cough because they have a more sensitive airway.”

Beyond being at an increased risk of developing severe symptoms from the coronavirus, doctors also warn that other marijuana-related issues may complicate the identification of a case of COVID-19. People who frequently smoke marijuana for example may develop a cough, a common symptom of COVID-19, that could confuse doctors in the process of diagnosis. 

Furthermore, people who are admitted to hospital for smoking cannabis often have a confused state of mind, making it more difficult for doctors to determine whether to send the patient home or keep them in. 

“Now there’s a healthcare worker who is gowned, gloved, possibly in a hazmat suit trying to get through to you. These are people who are trying to decide if you should be going home, coming into the emergency room, or worst-case scenario, that you need to be put on a ventilator,” says Glass. “They want the person who’s agreeing and giving informed consent to be completely in control of their thought processes.”

To prevent such confusion, doctors advise patients to give proper details about their usage of cannabis and other substances to healthcare workers so proper diagnoses and treatment arrangements can be made. 

 

Sources: BGR, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NY Post

 

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
NOV 30, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Terpene-Mediated Modulation of Cannabinoid Activity
NOV 30, 2021
Terpene-Mediated Modulation of Cannabinoid Activity
A popular theory – the “entourage effect” – has been gaining traction amongst the cannabis scien ...
MAR 08, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Volatile Sulfur Compounds Cause Skunky Cannabis Aroma
MAR 08, 2022
Volatile Sulfur Compounds Cause Skunky Cannabis Aroma
Researchers have identified a new family of volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) responsible for the “skunky” sme ...
MAR 25, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Product Consumer Choice Trends
MAR 25, 2022
Cannabis Product Consumer Choice Trends
A recent review of 35 cannabis consumer studies identified age, gender, and cannabis experiences as the main factors inf ...
APR 07, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Top 10 Best Cannabis Grinders for Sale in 2022
APR 07, 2022
Top 10 Best Cannabis Grinders for Sale in 2022
Searching for high-quality and unique weed grinders for sale in 2022? World of Bongs is a fantastic online smoke shop fo ...
APR 14, 2022
Health & Medicine
CBD and THC are Safe Supplements to Opioid Treatment
APR 14, 2022
CBD and THC are Safe Supplements to Opioid Treatment
A recent study found that it is safe and effective to use cannabidiol (CBD),∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and CBD/THC m ...
MAY 12, 2022
Health & Medicine
Pet Cannabis Poisoning is on the Rise
MAY 12, 2022
Pet Cannabis Poisoning is on the Rise
An analysis of surveys completed by veterinarians indicated an increasing number of pet cannabis poisonings was recently ...
Loading Comments...