"CBS analytics has noted a 25% increase at over 1000 dispensaries across the country, but this was pre-recession so we don’t know what’s going to happen next," Marijuana Industry Trade Association founder Demitri Downing said, per KVOA.
“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,” pulmonologist Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association told CNN. “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.”
Smoking weed can also make it harder for a doctor to diagnose symptoms. “You don't want to do anything that's going to confound the ability of healthcare workers to make a rapid, accurate assessment of what's going on with you,” Dr. Mitchell Glass, a pulmonologist and spokesperson for the American Lung Association, told the outlet.
Smokers, people with chronic lung diseases, and people who suffer from asthma are all at high-risk for COVID-19. Weed also causes inflammation in the lungs, akin to how ragweed, birch, and oak pollen can irritate people who are allergic to them. “So right off the bat there are those patients who would be increasingly susceptible to having a bronchospasm or cough because they have a more sensitive airway,” Glass added.
Because a dry cough is also an indication of coronavirus, any cough provoked by smoking weed can resemble that symptom, which again, makes diagnosing a patient harder.
While weed can make you calmer, it can also impair your ability to operate, especially during a medical emergency. “You're reducing anxiety, but that is still a change in your thinking, a change in the way you are handling facts, how you're grasping situations,” Glass said.
Experts say that if you’re don’t regularly smoke weed, now is not the time to start.
In March, research showed that people who smoke, vape, and have substance abuse issues are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Additionally, people with underlying health issues are also at high-risk of contracting the virus.