There are almost 10 thousand of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the USA as of today, March, 19. More than 150 people are dead already. Obviously, this novel disease becomes a huge problem for millions of people, and there are many concerns about how to protect yourself and prevent contamination.
Marijuana users ask lots of questions, too. One of them is about smoking pot when having COVID-19. So, here what do we know for sure:
weed is not a cure for coronavirus;
cannabis use does not increase the risks to catch COVID-19;
there is no valid data about if marijuana can fasten the recovery from the disease or easy the symptoms.
But can it make things worse? To answer this question we need to see if hemp is contraindicated to the drugs used for COVID-19 treatment, and if it aggravates the complications of the infection.
Does Marijuana Interact with COVID-19 Drugs
Unable to create a medicine specifically for coronavirus, the scientists all over the world are desperately trying to apply the existing drugs to treat it. Unfortunately, none of them was approved for this purpose yet. However, there are a couple of medications that may work:
hydroxychloroquine, which is a well-known and safe tablets used to treat malaria. They were firstly used in China, and then in France, and the clinicians suggest that they may be effective, but this is only a suggestion. There were no trials made, but the preliminary data is rather promising;
lopinavir/ritonavir, a combination of two antiretroviral drugs sold under the brand Kaletra. These pills are usually used as a part of a highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV patients. This medication was studied by the Chinese, British, and American doctors, and the results were neither positive nor negative. The clinicians did not see any benefits from the drug, however, they did not say that it is not effective. More studies are needed to make final conclusion. On the other hand, the ministry of healthcare of India has issued recommendations to use lopinavir/ritonavir in certain groups of COVID-19 patients;
standard care for pneumonia is also widely used for coronavirus. It includes oxygen, aspirin, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Let’s see if any of these medicines interact with marijuana.
Can I Use Weed with Anti-HIV Drugs?
Marijuana does not give any negative side effects when used together with HAART. The research of the St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, shows that the active ingredients of weed do not decrease the effectiveness of anti-HIV medications, neither they cause any adverse reactions. In fact, some clinicians even suggest that HIV-positive cannabis users may benefit from marijuana, as it enhances the decay of the virus DNA.
It does not prove, though, that weed may increase the effectiveness of HAART medications against coronavirus. All we can say is that if you smoke pot, you can take these pills safely. The only concern is that the concurrent use of weed and Kaletra may enhance the action of THC, so you should talk with your doctor about the appropriate dosage of pot.
Can I Use Marijuana When I Receive Other Drugs for COVID-19
Marijuana does not interact with aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. Moreover, it is a proven anti-inflammatory agent itself, so it can even help. It is highly unlikely that any doctor will prescribe you weed instead of a regular pneumonia care, but you can use cannabis while you are on the treatment. The same goes for hydroxychloroquine, the studies show that it has no interactions with marijuana.
There is a popular opinion, supported by some clinicians, that weed can help us recover from pneumonia and alleviate its symptoms. Marijuana can:
work as an anxiolytic and antidepressant drug;
However, it does not mean that in case you have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis you can use weed and the disease will go away. It can be something that can help you feel better, but the professional medical assistance is strongly required.
Does marijuana make coronavirus worse? As we see, it does not. The main and the most serious complication of the disease is pneumonia, and we’ve already learned that weed can be even good for patients with this malady. However, as it is a respiratory infection, the best policy is to take more care of your airways. Any smoke damages lungs and bronchi, this is why you should consider other forms of weed, e.g. edibles.
If you use marijuana with caution, it can be co-administered with any currently available drugs used for COVID-19. There are no interactions or dangerous side effects of using them together. But there is a rule you have to stick to and never break it — always consult your healthcare provider when using any drugs or noticing any bad symptoms.
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