If you’re smoking weed to ease your stress during the coronavirus pandemic, experts say it’s time to think twice. Smoking marijuana, even occasionally, can increase your risk for more severe complications from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“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.”
Hey wait, you might say, I’ve only just started and I’m not smoking much — so what’s the harm? The problem, said Dr. Mitchell Glass, a pulmonologist and spokesperson for the American Lung Association, is that the last thing you want during a pandemic is to make it more difficult for a doctor to diagnose your symptoms.
“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.’