Vaccinations And MMJ: All You Need To Know

Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived, it’s starting to feel like we just might make it to the other side of this pandemic. But because we’re still in the early stages of getting people vaccinated, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the vaccine. Medical marijuana (MMJ) users may have even more questions, including “Does marijuana affect the COVID vaccine?” To find out more about the connection between vaccinations and MMJ, read on.

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

First off, you might be wondering what the COVID vaccine is. The vaccine is currently being distributed by three different drug companies (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). The first two vaccine brands require two shots either three or four weeks apart, while the third option is one shot only. The shots are administered in your arm (just like a regular flu shot) by a medical professional or pharmacy worker.

The vaccine was designed to protect people from the coronavirus and went through extensive clinical trials to test its safety. It’s believed that the vaccine is effective in up to 90–95% of people. This means that only a small percentage of individuals would end up still contracting the virus even though they’ve been vaccinated. The vaccine is also valuable in that it can help people who do contract COVID to avoid becoming as severely sick from it.

MMJRecs - COVID vaccination
Image by CDC on Unsplash: Getting your COVID vaccine is an ideal way to avoid getting sick from the virus.

Does cannabis affect vaccination effectiveness?

At the time of writing, there have not been extensive studies into the influence of marijuana on vaccine effectiveness. Much more information needs to be gathered before doctors and researchers can make that determination. At this point, there are no clinical studies that indicate that using MMJ products will make the vaccine less effective.

During the past year, there has been some research conducted on using marijuana while suffering from COVID. The findings vary: some researchers believe that marijuana might actually help with symptoms of COVID, while others believe that it could worsen symptoms in late-stage COVID. One thing researchers seem to agree on: smoking cannabis could be detrimental at any age because it can weaken the lungs’ response to outside germs (like COVID).

If you’re worried about cannabis and COVID-19, your best bet is to use edibles or tinctures when imbibing. Bottom line: we don’t yet know if the vaccine is affected by cannabis usage, but it’s likely you’ll be fine if you’re using MMJ products and you get vaccinated. It’s assumed the vaccine will be just as effective.

Can MMJ patients get vaccinated?

Right now, there are no restrictions on MMJ patients getting vaccinated. In fact, many MMJ users make great vaccine candidates because they often suffer from chronic illnesses. In many states, individuals with a variety of serious conditions are now eligible for vaccines (including folks with diabetes, lung conditions, cancer, etc.) People who rely on MMJ products to relieve physical symptoms are likely to also be eligible for the COVID vaccine.

What steps should you take as an MMJ patient to get vaccinated?

Because there are still a lot of unknowns at this time, your best bet is to take some extra steps before you get vaccinated to ensure your safety.

1. Research whether you’re eligible for the vaccine in your state

Every state is doing the vaccine rollout a little differently. Some states have already started vaccinating their general population, while others (like California) are only vaccinating health care and essential workers at this time. In order to tell whether you’re eligible for a vaccine right now, head to your specific state’s health department website. There you’ll find information about when it will be your turn to get vaccinated.

2. Call your doctor

If you’re an MMJ user, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor before you get vaccinated. They can help answer any questions you might have about the safety of using cannabis and getting vaccinated. Make sure to ask anything you might be wondering about, including post-vaccine side effects or symptoms, so you’ll have all of the information you need to feel safe.

MMJRecs - vaccine
Image by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash: Call your doctor before getting the vaccine if you’re an MMJ user.

3. Make an appointment

Different states are handling vaccine appointments in various ways. You should be able to find information about how and when to make an appointment by heading to your state’s health department website, as mentioned above. When making the appointment, read through everything to see what you’ll need to bring with you (typically ID and/or documentation) so that you’ll be all set to get your vaccine at your appointed time.

There are obviously still more studies that need to be conducted so that we know more about the connection between MMJ and vaccines. At this time, the best option is to ask your doctor about it and continue to use your MMJ products responsibly.

Featured image by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

Would Dosing With MMJ Affect The COVID Vaccine?

The COVID-19 pandemic is still in force after kicking off at the beginning of last year. The numbers rose steadily, and at the time of writing, over 107 million people have contracted the virus, with 2.3 million having lost their lives. In recent months, a light at the end of a long and scary COVID tunnel has finally come with the development of a vaccine. The vaccine is meant to protect people from the virus in certain ways so that the world can return to normalcy.

The development of the COVID vaccine has raised quite a few questions when it comes to preexisting health conditions and other medications. Those who have a history of severe allergies to any ingredient or component of the newly created Pfizer vaccine are the only ones listed as unable to get it, and not much has been said in the way of other health conditions. So, what does that mean for medical marijuana users? Would dosing with MMJ affect the COVID vaccine? Let’s find out.

Does cannabis interfere with the COVID vaccine?

Many people who use medical marijuana as a way to deal with a chronic condition may be wondering whether their medication will have an effect on the COVID-19 vaccine, or vice versa. Unfortunately, there is limited information on the effects that MMJ has on the vaccine, if any at all.

Since there are no known interactions between the COVID-19 vaccine and the use of cannabis, it is safe to assume that the two will not react to one another in any serious way. Depending on your condition, it may be a good idea to speak with your health care provider prior to getting the COVID vaccine.

MMJRecs - COVID vaccine
Image by CDC on Unsplash: There is no evidence to support that medical marijuana will affect the COVID-19 vaccine.

Should I stop taking MMJ to get the COVID vaccine?

Since there are no known interactions between medical marijuana and the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine, it would not be necessary to stop taking MMJ to get the COVID vaccine. The vaccine works by providing your body with a specific protein that is designed to register as the virus. This then initiates an immune response where COVID-specific antibodies can be created. These antibodies will stay in the body to ward off an infection or illness from COVID-19 if you do happen to come across the virus following widespread vaccinations and when safety measures are eased.

One thing to consider while using medical marijuana when you’re planning on getting the COVID-19 vaccine is how well your immune system functions, and whether or not the MMJ could be weakening it. For the vaccine to work as it should, the immune system will need to be able to properly respond to it. Some studies suggest that marijuana has the ability to suppress immune activity, which in theory could lessen the vaccine’s effects.

Smoking and COVID vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine will not give anyone the virus. What is used in the vaccine is a type of blueprint of the virus so that the body can create antibodies based on information it is given through mRNA. This means that it is unlikely that smoking medical marijuana and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will lead to adverse effects.

Smoking does hinder the immune system, though, which can lead to a suppression of immune function. Those with a weakened immune function may not be able to develop as many antibodies as their healthy counterparts, which could make the vaccine less effective. However, this is not definitive, and if you are not on the strict “no go” list for the vaccine, you should speak to your doctor about getting it.

MMJRecs - cannabis oil
Image by CrystalWeed Cannabis on Unsplash: Since smoking marijuana can hinder the immune function, switching dosing methods may be a good option for those looking to get the vaccine.

How to ensure the efficacy of the COVID vaccine for MMJ users

If you wish to get the vaccine and are able to do so, you may want to consider switching your dosing method to something other than smoking. Smoking medical marijuana can have detrimental effects on the lungs. All types of smoke contain carcinogens and toxins that are released from the combustion. When you inhale this smoke, those substances get into the lungs. There are plenty of alternative ways to dose MMJ, such as edibles, topical ointments and creams, oils, and patches.

Since you use medical marijuana for a medical condition, it’s also important to stay on top of your dosing so that you are at your healthiest when taking the vaccine. This will ensure that it works as it should and that you continue to experience relief from your health condition while being protected from this dangerous virus.

Featured image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash