Washington, D.C. – The global COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered life around the world. The disease, which causes serious respiratory illness, requires that people of all ages avoid any and all behaviors which could increase the risk of transmitting or being exposed to the virus.
The gravity of this pandemic demands that much of our routine conduct be altered, including cannabis consumption. Although we recognize that some patients may need to smoke or vape for medical conditions, Doctors For Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), a global voice for health professionals who support cannabis legalization, strongly recommends use of oral consumption and topical application of cannabis, which are much safer alternatives to smoking and vaping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the lack of extensive research prevents the organization from making definitive conclusions, the most current information supports the following:
- Smoking and vaping cannabis (or any substance) can damage protective mechanisms of the airway and lungs that limit the ability of the virus that causes COVID-19 from establishing infection.
- Vaping products with additives, solvents, or flavoring (e.g., vitamin E acetate, propylene glycol [PG], vegetable glycerin [VG], polyethylene glycol [PEG]) may have direct toxicity on both the lungs and the immune system.
- Sharing of joints, pipes, vape pens, or other consumption devices increases risk for transmission of the COVID-19 virus, as does the frequent hand-to-mouth motions required by smoking and vaping.
- There is no evidence that it is safe to vape during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also important to be aware that, although THC and CBD have palliative and immunomodulatory effects, neither have been shown to prevent, treat, or exacerbate COVID-19.
Potency and onset time for oral products can vary significantly as compared to smoking or vaping cannabis. Therefore, DFCR encourages patients to “start low and go slow” to reduce risk of inadvertent overconsumption. If possible, medical cannabis patients should consult with a health professional before transitioning to alternative consumption methods. Patients with a consistent cannabinoid treatment regimen and are otherwise healthy are not advised to make extreme changes. Above all, the best way to prevent illness is to practice everyday preventive actions, such as social distancing and good personal health habits, to reduce risk of exposure to the virus.
For more information on COVID-19 and safe cannabis consumption, please visit www.dfcr.org.
About Doctors For Cannabis Regulation
Doctors For Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) serves as a global voice for physicians and health professionals that support cannabis legalization and science-based regulation in the United States and abroad. As the first organization of doctors in the world to support full cannabis legalization, DFCR promotes cannabis education, global research and advocacy to support legislative changes necessary for improved public health, social justice & consumer protections.
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