There is no doubt that wellness is the primary concern for many Americans right now. With a deadly COVID-19 pandemic looming in states across the nation, citizens are forced to quarantine indoors and take active measures to remain healthy. And it is certainly worth mentioning that particular habits can put people more at risk for contracting the disease. One such call out pertains to marijuana use.
Several prominent sites (including Yahoo News) have highlighted the added dangers that marijuana use may pose in today’s times. The specific warning concerns the smoking of cannabis and the risk it puts on your lungs. As most people probably know, COVID-19 attacks people with weakened immune systems and creates breathing complications (with many extreme cases requiring ventilator assistance).
Using harsh smoking devices like bongs or rolled joints does create an issue for the lungs, as noted pulmonary rehabilitation expert Dr. Vandana Patel M.D. told Yahoo.
“If you are smoking weed regularly, your lungs likely have a decreased ability to fight COVID-19 because the cells that are your first defense are weakened and/or damaged,” Dr. Patel explained to the site. “When you light a joint or a bowl, the combustion sets off a chemical cascade that, when inhaled, can act as an irritant or trigger for inflammation in your lungs.”
Chronic smoking can also lead to issues like bronchitis, which requires medical attention. That alone can put you in harm’s way, as you would need to be exposed to other potential COVID-19 patients in a hospital setting. We have already written about the susceptibility that compromised immune systems can have when it comes to coronavirus risks (a trend that also occurs among alcoholics).
The Yahoo piece went on to warn readers about cannabis oil vape pens and the severe risks they pose on the lungs. These devices cause molecules to combust (versus vaporizing) and can lead to issues like chest tightening and wheezing. What’s more, recent research has shown that these vape pens can lower a person’s respiratory immune system and their ability to fight off dangerous toxins.
Marijuana has also been called out as a gateway drug that can potentially open the door to harsher substances (particularly if a person is already fighting off depression and loneliness amid quarantining). Our advice to steer clear of any kind of smoking during this time and, if this habit appears difficult to break, please reach out for additional help.