As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise, we’re all wondering what we can do to keep ourselves and our communities safe and prevent the spread of illness. The Centers for Disease Control have issued several common-sense guidelines to avoid transmitting the virus, including frequent handwashing, observing social distancing and wearing a cloth face covering in public.
Another thing you can do is to stop smoking or vaping marijuana. As a growing body of evidence is showing, even occasional marijuana users are putting themselves at a higher risk of illness.
How Marijuana Increases Coronavirus Risk
To understand the link between marijuana and coronavirus risk, it’s essential to understand how the virus spreads. Every time you breathe, talk, cough, sing or sneeze, you emit airborne droplets that can land on surfaces and linger in the air. Touching a contaminated surface, then immediately touching your mouth, nose or eyes, is one way you can contract COVID-19. The more common way people get sick is by breathing in the virus.
Though this novel coronavirus can manifest in various ways, one of the primary things it attacks is the respiratory system. When you smoke or vape marijuana, you are damaging the delicate tissue inside your lungs, causing inflammation in the lining that protects against irritants. The hundreds of toxic chemicals you inhale along with the smoke or vapor can weaken your immune system and impair your body’s defense mechanisms, making you more likely to get sick and decreasing your ability to make a full recovery.
COVID-19 and Long-Term Health Problems
Despite initial reports that young, healthy people had little to worry about with COVID-19, the virus has left many otherwise robust patients permanently disabled. These infirmities include a form of irreversible lung scarring called post-COVID fibrosis that results in severe side effects such as shortness of breath, coughing and reduced lung function. Some people with this condition have needed lung transplants.
A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health examined more than 4,000 subjects aged 13 to 24 and determined that those who vaped were five times more likely to get COVID-19 than those who hadn’t. Is getting high worth the coronavirus risk and potential lifelong health complications?
Other Dangers of Marijuana Use
Though 33 states and the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana for medical use, recreational use or both, that doesn’t mean the drug has no risks. If you use marijuana products, even infrequently, you should be aware of the other health issues that may arise with this drug.
- Psychosis: One 2019 study published in The Lancet Psychiatry shows use of marijuana, especially strains with high levels of THC, increases the odds of having a psychotic episode.
- Brain damage: Researchers studying a group of marijuana users found damage to the white matter in the brain, which helps facilitate communication among neurons.
- Physical and psychological addiction: Though long-term marijuana use might not be as hazardous as “hard drugs” like heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines, developing a marijuana addiction is not only possible, but can also leave lasting damage on a user’s brain and body. People who try to quit can experience withdrawal symptoms like depression, loss of appetite, trouble concentrating and sleep disruption.
Recovering From a Substance Abuse Disorder
If drug use has you concerned about your or a loved one’s health, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, you shouldn’t feel alone. There are many resources for you to take advantage of, including accredited drug and alcohol rehab centers like New Found Life.
Following a comfortable, medically supervised detoxification process, you will enter our California residential rehab facility, where you’ll begin to sever your ties to your substance of use and begin to amass the tools you need to live a healthy, productive life.
To learn more about New Found Life’s approach to addiction recovery and verify whether your health insurance will cover your stay with us, please call us anytime, 24/7.