Newfoundland and Labrador Smokers’ Helpline
COVID-19, Cannabis Smoking & Vaping
What is the impact of cannabis smoking and vaping on COVID-19 risks?
Source: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
- There is no scientific evidence that THC or CBD prevents, alleviates, or treats Covid-19 symptoms.
- Evidence shows that inhaling cannabis smoke (or smoke from other sources, including tobacco) can negatively affect the respiratory system and possibly increase one’s chance of getting Covid-19 and worsen the symptoms of coronavirus disease.
- Covid-19 could be a serious danger for people with substance use disorders, including people who smoke or vape tobacco or cannabis. (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020).
- Cannabis smoke contains chemicals and fine particles that are toxic and can cause cancer as well as heart and lung disease. Inhaling deeply from a joint, a bong, or a pipe results in greater exposure to such toxins.
- Cannabis smoking has been linked to symptoms of chronic cough, mucus production, wheezing, sore throat, chest tightness, hoarse voice, and chronic bronchitis.
- Evidence is showing that quitting cannabis can reverse some of the negative symptoms associated with its use.
- THC in cannabis smoke (or in other forms) can prevent the immune system from protecting the body and increase the likelihood of infections.
- Vaping of unregulated cannabis extracts can lead to severe lung illnesses.
- Cannabis use in Canadian adults over 65 years is increasing. They are at increased risk of heart and lung complications. Together, cannabis use and Covid-19 can further increase the risk of such complications in older adults.
- The extent to which cannabis smoking or vaping can also pose a risk for Covid-19-related respiratory complications requires further study.
- In light of the current pandemic, any behaviours which might put one’s health at risk need to be carefully considered – this includes smoking and vaping cannabis.
Eight Ways to Reduce Your Health Risks
- Do not share joints, vaping devices, and bongs.
- Wash your hands before putting any type of cannabis product in your mouth.
- If possible, try to limit cannabis use to once per week.
- Avoid inhaling deeply. Try not to hold your breath.
- Purchase cannabis products from licensed and regulated retailers.
- Use products that contain no more than 100mg/g (10%) of THC content.
- Cannabis can interact with medications. Consult your health care provider before using cannabis.
- If using cannabis for a medical purpose, consult your health care provider with questions on its use during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Canada, as of April 7, 2020, 19 cases of vaping-associated lung illness have been reported to the Public Health Agency.
For help with quitting, connect with the quitline based in this province by calling the phone number on your cigarette pack. Or sign up for an online program today: