Medical professionals and pulmonary experts, warn that smoking marijuana even occasional could increase a person’s risk of contracting COVID-19, and also having more severe symptoms and complications from the disease, given evidence on tobacco and COVID-19, and what we already know about how heavy marijuana-smoking can impact the lungs.
“What happens to your airways when you smoke cannabis is that it causes some degree of inflammation, very similar to bronchitis, very similar to the type of inflammation that cigarette smoking can cause,” said pulmonologist Dr. Albert Rizzo, 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.”
According to Dr. Mitchell Glass, a spokesperson for the American Lung Association, making it more difficult for a doctor to diagnose your symptoms is not what someone will wish on himself during a pandemic.
“Covid-19 is a pulmonary disease,” Glass said. “Do you really want to have a confounding variable if you need to see a doctor or a healthcare worker by saying, ‘Oh, and by the way, I’m not a regular user of cannabis, but I decided to use cannabis to calm myself down.’
“You don’t want to do anything that’s going to confound the ability of healthcare workers to make a rapid, accurate assessment of what’s going on with you,” he added.
According to Dr Glass smokers should think of what happens to a cigarette when lit and left in an ashtray;it burns quickly all the way down to the filter, with nothing left but ash.
“It’s surrounded by paper. It’s completely dried out. It is made to burn at a very high temperature,” Glass said.
“Marijuana burns at a much, much lower temperature than a commercially made cigarette,” said Glass.
“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.”