Newfoundland and Labrador Smokers’ Helpline
Newfoundland and Labrador
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.
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: