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Does Smoking Weed Make You More Susceptible To COVID-19?

Plus, how to celebrate 4/20 even if you're not smoking.
STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus
Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

With 4/20 just around the corner and my supply running low as I spend my days self-quarantining at home, I keep finding myself ~alone with my thoughts~ asking some hard-hitting questions—namely, does smoking weed affect my chances of contracting coronavirus? Maybe it’s the post-smoke-sesh paranoia hitting me, but in the altered words of Carrie Bradshaw, I can’t help but wonder. Fortunately, I’ll wonder no longer, as I took things a step further and consulted an expert.

A dry cough is one of the major symptoms associated with COVID-19, so I was hardly surprised to see Bloomberg report that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned of risks connected to smoking during the pandemic. As for vaping and E-cigs, the agency didn’t have enough research to confirm whether or not these practices could make a person more vulnerable to contracting the disease. When it came to weed, a concrete answer was even harder to find.

Medicinal marijuana is legal in 33 states, with 11 states allowing the use of recreational weed, so I know I can’t be the only one looking for some information. Especially since we’re all hanging out at home right now.

STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus
Add Weed/Unsplash.

For some answers, I reached out to Dr. Niket Sonpal, a New York-based internist, gastroenterologist and adjunct professor at Touro College, who is currently treating COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Long Island. Dr. Sonpal’s take? “The general consensus right now is to avoid smoking, period,” he says.

Why? Turns out, what you don’t know *can* hurt you. “More data needs to be evaluated in terms of COVID-19 and marijuana users, and that data could be inaccurate as some people fail to report that they smoke marijuana,” says Dr. Sonpal. “But from early numbers on tobacco smokers, we know that this opens you up to greater odds of developing more severe complications from the virus,” he adds.

Basically, it all comes down to prioritizing lung health above all else. “Smoking affects the elastic tissue in the lungs,” says Dr. Sonpal. “You are introducing a hot vapor into your respiratory system, which is not recommendable when there is a highly contagious virus spreading that attacks that same system in our bodies.”

STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus
Thought Catalog/Unsplash.
If you’re dead-set on celebrating 4/20 but don’t plan on smoking (the choice is yours, of course), there are definitely some fun alternatives to consider. Of course, you can whip up some edibles, for which there are a ton of recipes and cookbooks. “Edibles would be the safest option as it wouldn’t involve the respiratory system, and it would utilize the digestive system instead,” says Dr. Sonpal. Or, ditch the edibles and go straight to the munchies sober. No judgement!
As for vaping, he says you should skip, if you can help it. “Experts explain that vaping tends to be safer than smoking if you are using a dry cannabis material,” he says, “however, most people, especially young people, use oil cartridges and these were linked to an outbreak of respiratory complications in 2019 that heavily impacted the youth.” Bottom line? Vape at your own risk, people!
STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus

If you’re lucky enough to be Cali-based, you can also partake in a little fun courtesy of brands like ALT, short for Advanced Liquid Technology. Their pre-measured vials of water-soluble THC were designed to be a healthier alternative to smoking with faster effects that you can add to any beverage.

STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus

To really play it safe, skip the weed altogether this year and unwind with some calming CBD, be it via skincare and body products or candles, incense and home goods. I’m always down for a reason to shop skincare, and this Herbivore Emerald Hemp Oil guarantees a glory complexion.

STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus
Ellis Brooklyn.

I’m also a fan of the Ellis Brooklyn Marvelous Massage & Body Oil, made with 100mg of CBD.

STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus
Malin & Goetz.

Malin & Goetz Cannabis Hand & Body Wash is sure to last through quarantine (I think).

STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus
Edie Parker Flower.

Edie Parker Flower is a great one-stop shop for chic pipes, stash jars, rolling papers, lighters and more, but they also make cute incense holders like this orange Citrus one.

STYLECASTER | does smoking weed affect coronavirus

Might I suggest these cannabis incense sticks to place in your cute orange slice holder for just $6? No, none of the above are ~quite so good~ as the real thing, but I’ve got my fingers crossed the world will be back to normal soon, and until then, staying safe is my top priority. It should be yours, too!

News about the Coronavirus is unfolding in real-time, and while we make every effort to ensure our content is accurate, some of the information in this story may have changed. For the most up-to-date news on the pandemic, please go to the CDC or WHO websites. For the latest from STYLECASTER, visit our Coronavirus hub page

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Design: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

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