Smoking weed can raise risk of COVID-19 complications

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If you have been smoking weed during the Coronavrius pandemic, then you may want to think twice, experts say.

Smoking marijuana can increase your risk for more severe complications from COVID-19 if you contract it.

What happens to your airways when you smoke cannabis is that it causes some degree or inflammation, very similar to bronchitis, very similar to the type of inflammation that cigarette smoking can cause, said pulmonologist Dr. Albert Rizza, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. Now you have some airway inflammation and you get an infection on top of it. So, yes, your chance of getting more complications is there.

Dr. Mitchell Glass, a pulmonologist and spokesperson for the American Lung Association said that the last thing you want during a pandemic is to make it more difficult for a doctor to diagnose your symptoms.

“Chronic” marijuana smoking, defined as a daily use, damages the lungs over a period of time. The end result “looks a lot like chronic bronchitis, which is of course one of the terms we use for chronic obstructive lung disease, or COPD, Glass said.

Glass told CNN that people with COPD and other chronic lung diseases, as well as people with moderate to severe asthma are among those at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including the worst-case scenario of being placed on a ventilator in order to continue breathing. 

We need to make sure that these users are aware that marijuana is in essence an underlying health condition, said Jessica Hulsey, founder of the Addiction Policy Forum. They should take extra precautions by minimizing use to the extent that is possible, and even start virtual treatment and a recovery journey while everyone’s stuck at home. 

Stop smoking weed, Glass said.

 

 

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