If spending more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic is making you want to smoke weed, you might want to consider some alternatives. Health experts are warning that smoking of any kind — including marijuana — could worsen COVID-19 symptoms.
This news comes at a time when cannabis companies are being deemed essential business, and marijuana sales are spiking. Read on to find out why alternative sources of cannabis might be a better choice to relieve coronavirus-related stress.
Is Smoking Weed Bad For Coronavirus?
Dr. Barry J. Make, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health, told Insider that COVID-19 patients who had “underlying lung disease” in China and Italy “have more complications and die more often.” He added that “this is the perfect time to stop smoking.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos of the American Lung Association, told the site that marijuana should be considered in the same category as tobacco when considering risks associated with COVID-19.
“We know cigarettes and marijuana both cause cellular toxicity and changes in cellular metabolism and cellular behavior,” Dr. Galiatsatos said, “so that would be a biologically plausible explanation to say if you got an infection from [COVID-19], you’re likely to have more dire symptoms.”
Dr. Brian Christman told CNN that quitting smoking can show benefits quickly. “If you quit smoking, the chronic inflammation goes away after a few weeks,” he said, adding that coronavirus may return later, so quitting is also “an investment in the future.”
Cannabis Deemed Essential Business During Coronavirus Pandemic
While lung doctors advise against smoking, cannabis businesses have been deemed “essential” by governments across the United States. In some states, delivery and curbside pickup offer safer ways for Americans to stock up.
“The recognition by our government officials that cannabis is indeed not just here to stay, but an essential part of life for millions of Americans—particularly in the patient community—is a welcome move in the right direction,” NORML executive director Erik Altieri told Forbes.
There’s actually been an increase in sales amidst the pandemic. Sam Ludwig, president of California cannabis company Aster Farms, told Cosmopolitan they saw “a 2x bump in sales in the middle of March.”
Because of the risks associated with smoking, Altieri told Rolling Stone that edibles, oils, and tinctures might be better cannabis options than a joint. If you test positive for COVID-19, he also recommends consulting your doctor before continuing to use cannabis.