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Meals could also be higher than smoking hashish through the pandemic

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Rae Lland March 19, 2020

(Evgeniy / AdobeStock)

COVID-19 has become a global problem and we all want to know everything we should do to increase our chances of health and safety. Most of us now know that we have to wash our hands and distance ourselves socially for at least 20 seconds, but what about everyday habits? What about smoking cannabis? We spoke to science and medicine professionals to find out.

What harms smoking?

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee is an epidemiologist for infectious diseases who has spent her career reducing harm in people with drug addiction. Although she doesn't claim to be a cannabis or lung medicine expert, she believes that smoking is not advisable at this time.

“At the moment we are facing a pandemic in which SARS-CoV-2 attacks lung cells, preferably in the lower airways. I think it's better to be on the safe side, so I would advise anyone who uses marijuana to switch to food, especially if they have health problems such as breathing problems (asthma, COPD), heart problems (high blood pressure, diabetes) or others suffers from immune deficiency, ”she said.

It's about cilia – parts of cells in our lungs and airways that help keep the airways free of dirt, mucus, and other irritants. "Younger people can get milder illnesses, but I think it is obvious that if you become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and all, you will still increase the likelihood of a serious complication, [like a] secondary bacterial infection Have burned your cilia. Said Dr. Strathdee.

Lungs with fewer cilia are less able to move virus particles, bacteria and mucus up and out of the lungs. It is clear to see why this function is particularly important at a time when a severe respiratory virus is circulating.

Protect the cilia of your lungs

To find out more, we have Dr. Laura Crotty Alexander consulted, a pulmonologist who has been studying e-cigarettes for over seven years. With the help of basic research, translational and clinical research, Dr. Crotty Alexander to investigate the effects of cannabis products on lung and immune function, as a large number of people who use nicotine vapors also smoke or vaporize THC or CBD.

When asked about cilia and the possible effects of cannabis smoking on their function, Dr. Crotty Alexander: “Smoking marijuana has been shown to damage the airway epithelium, increase mucus production and cause ciliated epithelial cell loss. ”

She continued and said: "If cilia are missing or not working, the mucus collects in the airways and gives SARS-CoV-2 the opportunity to contact and infect lung epithelial cells."

When asked whether cannabis smoke affects cilia to the same extent as tobacco smoke, Dr. Crotty Alexander that there is currently simply not enough convincing data to know this. However, she found that susceptibility to the viral pathogen SARS-CoV-2 could increase with each additional load on the lung system.

"Because it is a novel pathogen, we work with very little hard data, but it is generally believed that smoke inhalation is generally a risk factor for a more severe COVID-19 infection," she said. “Marijuana smoking has been shown to be associated with increased coughing, expectoration, difficulty breathing and wheezing. These are just basic signs that the airways and lungs are irritated by inhaling marijuana smoke, which leads to increased mucus production and coughing. ”

Consider giving your lungs a break now.

When asked whether cannabis users should avoid vaping, Dr. answered Crotty Alexander: “It would be advisable for all of us to try to keep our lungs as healthy as possible in order to become infected with SARS. Develop CoV-2 and possibly COVID-19. High-risk people – people over 60, underlying lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease – should take care of their health and treat their lungs with kindness, as they may have to work much harder to keep them alive in the near future. "

Dr. Crotty Alexander said that people at high risk of getting SARS-CoV-2 should pay the most attention, but everyone else should. "Healthy people under the age of 30 have just been through an epidemic where they were most at risk – EVALI," she said, referring to the lung injury associated with e-cigarettes and vape products. "So you should listen too, because your lungs should breathe nothing but air molecules."

Regardless of age or underlying condition, everyone should consider giving their lungs a break. "Inhaling particles – whether from cigarettes, marijuana, coal burning, stove burning, or pollution – has always resulted in decreased lung function and increased susceptibility to lung infections."

These are unprecedented times, and while we change many things in our habits to curb the spread of this virus, it can be worth quitting smoking – even cannabis.

With many alternative products available today such as foods, tinctures, plasters and topical products, cannabis can still be a part of your life without unnecessarily irritating the lungs.

For those in states that do not have easy access to such products, there is no better time to finally perfect cannabis butter. tinctures or topics then during social distancing?

Stay healthy, stay safe. We will do it together from afar.

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Rae Lland is a freelance writer, journalist and former editor for Weedist and The Leaf Online. With a focus on culture, music, health and wellness, in addition to her work for Leafly, she was featured in numerous online cannabis publications and in print editions of Cannabis Now Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @ rae.lland

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