Marijuana and the Coronavirus

marijuana smoking coronavirus

Marijuana is a hot topic of conversation when it comes to the novel coronavirus. For one thing, states with legalized marijuana sales have reported that people are stocking up on it. But news about this fad is bleak; some of the sickest coronavirus patients in American hospitals have been regular marijuana smokers.

Coronavirus and the Lungs

The World Health Organization says that about 80% of people with COVID-19 recover without needing hospitalization or specialist treatment, leaving one in six seriously ill. Most of these patients experience difficulty breathing.

Nearly all of the seriously ill patients end up with pneumonia. Some may need breathing treatments, antibiotics, and other assistance. Some end up on a ventilator.

Tobacco and Marijuana Smokers and Vapers in Danger

While most people who end up seriously ill from the coronavirus have some pre-existing condition many are smokers, marijuana users, and tobacco vapers. Existing research from China and Italy suggests that smokers or vapers are more seriously affected than other people their age.

People who smoke marijuana regularly are more likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms because evidence suggests marijuana smoking can cause cells in the lungs to die.

Why Are They More Susceptible?

Medical experts view tobacco and marijuana smoking as almost some kind of pre-existing condition because smokers and vapers, in general, have lung damage. Some people who currently smoke tobacco already have some beginning signs of lung disease such as COPD. Many people who smoke already have a “smoker’s cough”, which is a signal of lung damage.

Already-damaged lungs are more-susceptible to viruses in general, which is why many people who smoke develop conditions such as chronic bronchitis more frequently than non-smokers. While no studies have yet traced similar conditions to vaping, there are many chemicals that a person can possibly inhale when they make the decision to vape.

Getting Help for Marijuana or Tobacco Use

Now is the best time to quit or at least reduce your tobacco or marijuana use. It’s hard to do it on your own, but it’s possible if you join a 12-step group or get other help or counseling. 12-step programs have online meetings that you can currently join to get help with drug or alcohol use.

Many health departments have resources to help you with quitting tobacco. Call your county office for more information.