Can Cannabis Help Treat Symptoms Of COVID-19?

With many places still suffering through waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are contracting the virus and falling ill. The pandemic has claimed millions of lives, but for many who have caught COVID-19, symptoms of the viral infection have been less severe. For some of the lucky ones, symptoms have even been mild, able to be dealt with using at-home remedies.

Considering the potential grave consequences of the virus and the uncertainty as to how it will affect any given person, it can be anxiety-inducing to think about. However, being prepared if you do happen to come down with the illness can help you get through it.

What are some of the things you should do if you get sick with COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released guidelines on what a person should do if they get sick with COVID-19, and the first item on the list is to stay home. This is because the virus is highly contagious, and if you are sick, you don’t want to be spreading it to others. Even if your symptoms are mild, you can still pass it on to someone who may not be as lucky.

They CDC also suggests lots of rest and fluids. Since viruses are unable to be cured using antibiotics, it can be hard to get a medication that will fight the infection for you. It is typically up to your immune system. This is why making sure your immune system is ready for the fight is the best thing you can do, and that includes drinking lots of clear liquids, resting as much as possible, and eating as healthily as you can.

If you develop more serious symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away to determine whether you need to go to the hospital for care. 

medical marijuana plants outdoors
Image by Joel Muniz on Unsplash: Can cannabis help reduce the symptoms of a mild COVID-19 infection?

What medication can I take to reduce the symptoms of the coronavirus disease?

To reduce the symptoms of COVID-19, there are many over-the-counter medications available to you. For example, if one of your symptoms is a cough, you can take a cough suppressant and have cough lozenges handy to help cope with that symptom. Other over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen can help combat fever and pain associated with the infection. 

How to treat COVID-19 at home if you have mild symptoms

Treatment for COVID-19 at home is focused solely on managing symptoms. This is because the immune system needs to fight off the viral infection. To manage the symptoms at home, start by getting lots of rest. Sleep and immune function are closely linked, so ensuring that you’re getting enough quality sleep while you are ill will help your body fight off the illness. Pain relievers and fever reducers can also help to lessen symptoms; however, even if you take over-the-counter medications and start to feel better, it’s important that you continue to rest and isolate at home.

Adequate fluid intake is also important. Drinking clear fluids such as water or broths is best. Staying hydrated is vital to how well the body fights off the virus, because dehydration can worsen the function of the immune system.

medical marijuana infused tea
Image by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash: CBD may be a viable option when it comes to helping the body fight off a mild COVID-19 infection.

Cannabis and COVID-19

Although cannabis will not treat or cure COVID-19, some research has suggested that the use of cannabis can help to mitigate specific symptoms and help people cope with the infection. CBD, in particular, has been looked at as a possible option to help reduce the risk of the body developing a cytokine storm, a process that occurs when an overabundance of cytokines triggers an immune response where the body starts to attack itself and not the virus.

Other research has also looked into cannabis as a possible option to help reduce lung inflammation that could be caused by the virus, thus helping with lung function while battling the infection. Since cannabis has also been shown to help reduce pain and anxiety, it’s assumed that using cannabis while sick with COVID-19 may lead to a reduction in both those symptoms for those coping with the illness.

A final caveat that should be noted: smoking or vaping cannabis is not recommended for those who are ill with coronavirus. This is because both smoking and vaping have been shown to have negative effects on lung function, and by utilizing this method, you could end up doing more harm than good for your lungs while they try to recover. Using oils, nasal sprays, or topical applications is the best way to dose with cannabis when trying to deal with the symptoms of COVID-19. 

Featured image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Is Coronavirus Mainly Spread By Coughing? How MMJ Smokers Can Reduce Their Risk

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early months of 2020, many people have been affected by the disease. Roughly 103 million people have contracted the virus at the time of writing, with over two million of those people losing their lives to the disease. With the pandemic still in full effect across the globe, the worry of contracting the virus and experiencing severe complications is still at the top of everyone’s minds.

For those who take medical marijuana to help them cope with complications of chronic disease, that worry may be heightened, especially if the chosen method of ingestion is through smoking. But what effect does smoking medical marijuana have on COVID-19? And are those who take medical marijuana more at risk?

How is COVID-19 mainly transmitted?

There are many ways that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted from person to person. The biggest transmission risk is through droplets in the air. When a person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks, respiratory droplets are pushed out into the air. If someone breathes in infected droplets, they too now have the virus inside their body.

The droplets range in size from small (often referred to as aerosols, which can linger in the air) to large (which fall to the ground rapidly). This leads the assumption that larger droplets are less of a threat than smaller ones. Coughing can produce both large and small droplets, depending on their origin. If the droplets are produced in the larynx and then coughed into the air, they are likely smaller droplets, whereas droplets from the oral cavity while coughing will typically be larger.

MMJRecs - marijuana cigarette
Image by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash: Could smoking medical marijuana put you more at risk for contracting COVID-19? 

Are smokers more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, smokers may be more vulnerable to contracting the virus, but not because of the effects that smoking has on the body. Smokers are likely more vulnerable because the act of smoking involves putting something to your mouth using your hands, which may be contaminated. This hand-to-mouth motion increases the likelihood of transmission of the virus.

Many people often smoke in social situations as well, which can lead to increased risk of transmission if sharing is occurring. For those who smoke medical marijuana, that social aspect is generally eliminated, and thus the risk of transmission is lower than those who smoke cigarettes or recreational marijuana.

How could smoking affect COVID-19?

Since smoking medical marijuana increases the risk of respiratory infection and complications, it could lead to worse outcomes if someone were to catch the virus. The smoking of cannabis can damage the lungs, and since COVID-19 is a lung infection, this can lead to more severe symptoms. Some research has also suggested that THC may have the ability to alter the efficacy of the immune system, which could make it harder for someone to fight off a COVID-19 infection.

However, other studies have found contradictory results when it comes to cannabis and immunosuppression. Other research has also found that the use of CBD can actually reduce complications and severe symptoms in those with COVID-19. The information is not conclusive, though, and more studies are needed to determine the accuracy of the study’s findings. It also wasn’t clear in the study whether CBD was taken via smoking.

Alternate MMJ dosing methods

The use of medical marijuana via smoking may be some patients’ first choice of ingestion method. But due to the repercussions it can have on lung health, and taking into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, some may wish to change out how they ingest MMJ. The good news is that there are plenty of dosing methods available for those who require medical marijuana to deal with their chronic conditions.

The first alternative that’s most like smoking is vaporizing. The process is similar, but using a vaporizer involves the inhalation of vapor instead of smoke. It’s not clear whether or not vapor is a healthy alternative to smoking in this instance, though.

MMJRecs - gummies
Image by Sarah Takforyan on Unsplash: Medical marijuana has many dosing methods, including edible gummies.

Methods that don’t include any inhalation, which may be good options for those wishing to change their dosing method, include eating MMJ, topical application, or oils. Edible medical marijuana can be ingested through various types of foods such as gummy candies or baked goods. Topical marijuana provides the dose by applying it to the skin, and oils are ingested by placing the appropriate dose under the tongue until it dissolves in the mouth.

Each method will come with different wait times to feel its effects. For example, someone who smokes medical marijuana will likely feel the effects minutes following ingestion, whereas an edible dose can take up to two hours.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people may wish to do everything they can for their health to ensure that if they do contract the virus, they have a fighting chance of a full recovery. For those who take medical marijuana, this means staying the course in your treatment and opting for a different dosing method if you are worried about the risks that smoking may cause.

Featured image by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

Is It Safe To Dose With MMJ If You Have Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a serious illness, especially when it comes to how it can impact the health of the lungs. Many people who dose with MMJ do so through smoking or vaping, which can also affect the lungs. Understandably, you may be wondering: is it safe to dose with MMJ if you have coronavirus? Here’s everything you need to know.

Are MMJ Users More At Risk From COVID-19?

Since COVID-19 attacks the lungs, and since inhaled substances can have an impact on the respiratory system, it makes sense to stop smoking MMJ if you have coronavirus. Researchers have found that cannabis smoke causes irritation to the lungs as well as microscopic injury to the tiny cells that line the lungs. When you expose lung tissues to smoke, you can increase the body’s inflammatory response – something that can be a problem if you have coronavirus.

While healthy people may easily handle the lung irritation that comes from smoking MMJ, a person with coronavirus may not be able to. That’s why it’s important to keep irritants to your lungs to a minimum if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19.

It’s also important to note that bronchitis is an established side effect of inhaling cannabis smoke. That’s why some regular users will develop chest congestion and a cough. These symptoms are normally temporary, but during a pandemic that impacts the health of the lungs, it can be a good idea to avoid cannabis smoke.

Other risk factors for lung injury include:

  • Your age
  • Whether you have allergies or not
  • Whether you have other issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or an autoimmune disease that puts you at higher risk

 

MMJRecs - marijuana recriminalized

Image by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash: Researchers don’t yet know the exact relationship between cannabis and coronavirus.

Should You Be Smoking MMJ If You Have SARS-CoV-2?

Vaping may seem less dangerous than smoking, but the truth is that the ways vaping impacts the health of the lungs simply isn’t known. Plus, some vape cartridges have been thinned with polyethylene glycol or vitamin E acetate, which can destroy lung tissue. (If you’re buying your MMJ cartridges from a legitimate MMJ dispensary, chances are you won’t run into those products.)

If you do choose to vape, make sure it’s with a device that allows for temperature control, since higher temperatures can damage the lung tissue. You can further reduce harm by:

  • Using a flower vaporizer in place of a vape pen
  • Washing your hands before and after you vape
  • Sterilizing the mouthpiece between inhalations with alcohol
  • Keeping temperatures for vaping low – around 390 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Vaping outside and away from others
  • Taking small doses of vapor instead of larger ones to help reduce coughing

Precautions If You’ve Been Diagnosed With COVID-19

If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus, you will need to take precautions to ensure you don’t spread it to others. That means you shouldn’t share any type of device used to dose MMJ.

You should also try to reduce your chances of coughing when dosing, since that can send infected droplets through the air. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after you sneeze, cough, or touch your face. And be sure not to share small spaces with others in your household, especially the bathroom.

Should You Abstain From MMJ With Coronavirus?

There’s no reason not to dose with MMJ safely if you have COVID-19, as long as you explore other ways to take it that don’t involve inhaling. Think about shifting to edibles while sick – you don’t want to miss out on MMJ’s therapeutic benefits while you’re ill, such as:

  • Helping to control inflammation
  • Helping with anxiety
  • Helping to deal with pain and discomfort

There is some evidence that MMJ may also help you to breathe better in small doses, as well as help to quell the inflammatory response called a cytokine storm that has been dangerous to many coronavirus patients.

If you have coronavirus, go ahead and dose with MMJ as you ensure you’re resting appropriately to help your body to heal.

 

Image by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash: Can cannabis and CBD affect coronavirus? It’s possible.

CBD Oil And Coronavirus

CBD oil has some established antibacterial and antiviral properties, but its best feature is that it helps to control inflammation. Coronavirus ravages the body through inflammation, so anything that can help to reduce overall inflammation is a good thing.

Coronavirus is scary, but it doesn’t mean you should stop therapeutically taking MMJ. You may want to adjust the delivery method with the health of your lungs in mind, but overall, MMJ just might help to keep you healthy.

Featured image by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash