The Coronavirus is still infecting a large number of people in the US. According to a report on AOL, more than 1.6 million people have now contracted the virus around the world, 475,000 of that number are from the US. Experts have found out that certain underlying conditions may increase one's risk of being infected -- these include respiratory issues obesity. Now, a new study conducted by the American Lung Association has revealed that smoking marijuana can also be included as a risk factor.
In a report by CNN, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released data revealing that more than 43 million Americans above 12 years old have been using marijuana since 2018. About 4 million of these users are people with marijuana-use-disorder, which means that their habit has already negatively affecting their daily lives.
Smoking marijuana may increase the risk of acquiring the Coronavirus, according to experts
"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 Dr. Albert Rizzo, a pulmonologist and 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," he said in the CNN report.
Dr. Mitchell Glass, a pulmonologist and the Spokesperson for the American Lung Association said that starting to smoke marijuana will only create difficulty for the doctors to diagnose the symptoms of a patient during this pandemic.
According to the recent report of CNN, smoking marijuana can become a "chronic" condition once a person begins to smoke on a daily basis. This daily habit damages the lungs over a period of time resulting in chronic bronchitis -- one of the terms used for chronic obstructive lung disease or COPD.
According to Dr. Mitchell Glass, those people who have COPD and also those who usually experience moderate to severe asthma which gives them a high risk of contracting the Coronavirus. In the worst-case scenario, upon infection, these patients will have to use a ventilator in order to breathe properly.
Symptoms of lung damage from smoking cigarettes can appear in just a few days. On the other hand, smoking more than 2 rolls of marijuana, even for new users, is deadlier to the lungs compared to smoking a regular cigarette. The reason behind this is the joint used to smoke weed has unique properties; the marijuana leaves are completely dried out and wrapped in paper, which makes it burn at a much lower temperature compared to a cigarette.
Once the joint burns, a small amount of weed is left behind, known as "roach". The unburnt marijuana can be inhaled by the user that may irritate their lungs in the same manner as ragweed, birch, and oak pollen does to those people who have allergies.
Right now, the Marijuana Policy Project is calling out to local leaders to ensure that weed smokers are using safe products, specifically in places where it is illegal. The message is simple, stop smoking marijuana.