The Risks of Smoking Weed and Vaping During the Coronavirus Pandemic
During this difficult time, some individuals may be smoking marijuana in an attempt to relieve anxiety and stress. However, experts are saying it is time to think twice about this habit, as it can make you more vulnerable to contracting the COVID-19 virus. Taking this opportunity to address your marijuana addiction can ultimately spare you from any damage you may do to your airways, as well as help you better identify symptoms, if you contract the COVID-19 virus.
Weed Smokers Are Rising
According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, of Americans ages 12 and older who have used marijuana, four million are addicted to the substance. More than a third of young adults from 18-25 used marijuana in 2018 along with 13% of adults ages 26 or older. Even 4% of senior citizens have been using marijuana. That being said, COVID-19 is hurting a lot of cannabis businesses as news is breaking out about the connection between this virus and marijuana.
How Weed and Vaping Are Bad for Your Lungs
Considering the current health crisis presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially a bad time to smoke or vape, since the virus attacks the lungs. It causes a degree of inflammation similar to bronchitis or cigarette smoking. If you were to become infected with the novel coronavirus and develop COVID-19, your risk of complications increases, due to the existing lung damage. Marijuana burns at a much lower temperature than a cigarette, which means you are inhaling a certain amount of unburnt plant material. This can irritate the lungs the same way that ragweed, birch, and oak pollen can affect you if you are allergic.
The same goes for vaping, considering you are damaging the cells in your respiratory system that are responsible for protecting your immune system from respiratory diseases. Patients will be more susceptible to a cough if they have a more sensitive airway. Since a dry cough is a symptom of COVID-19, any cough caused by weed or vaping can mimic that symptom and make diagnosis a lot harder.
Weed Being Used as a Coping Tool
Marijuana is known for its calming effects. We live in an uncertain time where people worry what the future will be like once the pandemic blows over. What they may not be aware of is that marijuana can make it hard to function, which does not help if you are dealing with a medical emergency. Your thinking and ability to handle situations will be altered, which can be problematic. You need to be able to give informed consent if someone asks you if it is best to stay home, go to the emergency room, or if you need to be put on a ventilator.
How Vaping Can Help Spread the Virus
After inhaling from your vaping device, you are blowing out secretions and vapor plume from your throat, nose, and lungs. The coronavirus is normally spread through respiratory droplets that are expelled when people speak, cough or sneeze. Aerosols released in a vape cloud tend to hang in the air compared to respiratory droplets that are not from vape fumes. If you are vaping in a small room, your pulmonary secretions may be suspended in the air for minutes or even hours. If a vaper has COVID-19, someone else walking in the room could contract it just by entering a room.
Vaping Involves Touching Your Face
One of the major rules of what to do to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to never touch your face. Vaping means putting a device in and out of your mouth that you touch with your fingers. Unless you are washing your hands every time you pick up your vaping device and constantly cleaning it off, this is the type of thing that can potentially bring the virus to your mouth and lead to infection.
Vaping—much like smoking weed—is also often a social activity, and may involve passing around and sharing of the substance, which presents a risk for transmitting the virus. Additionally, as previously noted, if your lungs are already damaged from vaping or smoking weed, you can get especially sick.
Experts Urge You to Quit Smoking Weed and Vaping
If you do not regularly smoke marijuana or vape, it is best that you do not start now. Do not put your parents or caretakers in a position where they need to figure out if you are coughing as a result of smoking or because of COVID-19.
Be honest with your caretakers about the last time you used, as well as how much and how often, so you can all get a good idea of how the substances you inhale have an effect on your body. These particles or chemicals are inflaming your airways, which is already making your body fight off infection. You need to ask yourself if you think your body will have enough energy to fight off COVID-19, also.
If you are addicted to vaping, speak to your doctor about what to do. You can try to substitute vaping with gum, toothpicks, or candy. If you have an addiction to nicotine, try patches, lozenges, or gums, which do not involve inhaling chemicals or repeatedly touching your face.
This should help cut your chances of infection, as well as strengthen your lungs. The whole world is fighting against a potentially fatal virus right now. All smoking will do is worsen your lungs and make you more susceptible to COVID-19. Take control of your body’s health today by treating your vaping or marijuana addiction.
If you are ready to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of developing COVID-19, we are here to help. Located next to a beautiful pond in Huntington Beach, California, Silver Lining Recovery offers a serene environment for outpatient care. We believe in staying relaxed while receiving treatment, and seek to identify underlying causes of addiction before offering professional help. Through personalized treatment options like EMDR, CBT, DBT, meditation treatment, faith-based treatment, and academic and career counseling, our knowledgeable counselors can help you get started on your journey to a healthier, happier life. Please call us today at (866) 729-8577 to learn more.