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Smoking cannabis, even just occasionally, causes inflammation in the lungs. This could affect the body’s ability to fight off COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. Experts at the American Lung Association (ALA) have issued a warning about people smoking cannabis during the coronavirus outbreak.

“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”, Dr Albert Rizzo, Chief Medical Officer for the ALA, 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.”

In addition, doctors warn that symptoms from smoking cannabis can mimic those of the virus, such as a dry cough.

“Do you really want to have a confounding variable if you need to see a doctor or a healthcare worker?…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”, said Dr Mitchell Glass, a spokesperson for the ALA.

Smoking cannabis daily has been shown to damage the lungs to the point that the organs resemble someone with chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD). It’s been proven that those with chronic lung diseases, such as COPD, are among the most at risk of suffering severe complications from coronavirus. 

Last month it was revealed that the cost for an ounce of weed is said to have spiked to around £250 in some parts of the UK, up over £100 from its usual price.

Not only are cannabis users at risk, health experts have warned that smokers are also 14 times more likely to develop coronavirus. According to Public Health England (PHE), cigarette smokers can also put family members at higher risk of COVID-19 too.

Professor John Newton, PHE’s Director of Health, said that in light of the unprecedented pandemic sweeping the globe, “there has never been a more important time to stop smoking, not only for your own health but to protect those around you”. For information on any of AlphaBiolabs’ drug testing solutions, please call 0333 600 1300 or email us at info@alphabiolabs.com