General Health

Marijuana and COVID-19; What a doctor needs to tell a patient about this

Can smoking weed protect you against COVID-19?

With the increasing prevalence of coronavirus across the globe, people are searching for ways to protect their health and reduce the risk of complications from COVID-19. Since damaged lungs are one of the key risk factors for complications, health experts are suggesting the masses to prevent smoking of any kind.

There is a lot of evidence pointing to a correlation between long-term cannabis use and lung damage that causes chronic cough and phlegm accumulation. Also, there’s evidence that these lung symptoms will improve when you quit smoking.

Does marijuana have any beneficial effect on Anxiety? 

There is widespread concern about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on mental health. With social alienation and other economic stressors caused due to strict lockdowns, people are searching for different ways to alleviate their anxiety.

A recent study found that prescriptions for anti-anxiety medicines, antidepressants, and anti-insomnia medicines increased after the World Health Organization announced the breakout of the global pandemic.

Cannabis products that people are comfortable with are reasonably acceptable and are generally safer than alcohol and other intoxicants.  However, according to the NAS study, frequent, long-term usage may increase the risk of developing social anxiety and frequent smokers are more likely to report suicidal thoughts.

How Cannabis Affects the immune system?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining a healthy immune system has become a huge concern of late.  The NAS study discussed data regarding the effects of marijuana on our immune system and our vulnerability to viral infections.

There is an interesting finding that acknowledges a small body of evidence showing cannabis can decrease the development of many inflammatory cytokines (proteins of the immune system). This is an important area of research right now because scientists have found that there appears to be an overproduction of these cytokines in many of the most extreme cases of COVID-19, also known as the cytokine storm.

However, it is important to note that the immune system consists of several cells and chemical signals that communicate in a complex interplay, so it is hard to tell where cannabis can help calm down the immune system, and where it can cause damage by raising the risk of infection.

Specific research from the NAS report investigating cannabis and viral infection analyzed data not only about cannabis-containing THC but also about cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is also present in the cannabis plant, but unlike THC, it does not have the properties that make you feel ‘high’. The results from this study are promising and hopefully will encourage further research because there might be a possibility that CBD can help reduce inflammation and fight against certain viruses, but there isn’t any solid evidence to support these statements yet. 

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