Lockdowns and mandatory mask-wearing may feel like a distant memory, but Covid is still here.
For the time being, it’s here to stay, and if we’re unfortunate enough to contract it, we’ll need to rely on what we have to manage our symptoms and keep our bodies in tip-top condition.
Cannabis has been used as a medical treatment for centuries. Those with short and long-term illnesses often rely on cannabis to ease their symptoms, but when it comes to Covid, does cannabis have the same effects?
Well, although you shouldn’t be smoking it, cannabis may help you manage your symptoms. However, it should be taken with care.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the links between Covid and cannabis, and explore the things you should (and shouldn’t) be doing to help manage your symptoms.
Can You Have Cannabis While Sick With Covid?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not so clear-cut.
So far, it’s important to note that there’s no solid evidence to suggest that Cannabis can be an effective treatment for Covid.
That being said, the verdict on whether cannabis helps or harms users with Covid is also mixed.
Cannabis contains a pretty highly-revered compound known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC), which has been used in medical treatments for centuries.
THC has been said to help treat unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, pain, and anxiety. However, we’re still not sure whether or not cannabis can help Covid. It will also depend on how you’re consuming cannabis. Here’s what we do know.
If your experience with Covid is leaving you with a lack of appetite and you’re struggling to sleep, cannabis may help. Cannabis is known to increase appetite and promote better sleep quality, which may offer some relief to users struggling with these symptoms.
If you’re experiencing body pains with Covid, you may also find some relief from taking cannabis, which is known to help treat physical pain.
However, this depends on how you’re consuming it. Covid is known to attack the respiratory system pretty hard, so it goes without saying, smoking or vaping may not be safe (or pleasant) if you have Covid.
Medical professionals will usually advise against it, but if you really think cannabis could help your symptoms, you should opt for edibles, instead.
We should also consider the links between cannabis and the immune system, and what this could mean for Covid patients.
There’s once again, a mixed verdict here. While some studies suggest that cannabis may boost the immune system, other studies suggest it may harm it. So, what should you do?
Well, most of these studies have been restricted to laboratories, so it’s unclear whether or not cannabis is actually an immunosuppressant or enhancer in the human body.
If you want to err on the side of caution, it’s probably best to stop using cannabis while you have Covid, and opt for more mainstream, tried and tested medicines, instead.
Can I Smoke While Having Covid?
Anyone with Covid is strongly advised not to smoke anything – that goes for cannabis, too. Ideally, you should steer clear of smoking cannabis or tobacco, and stop putting anything in your lungs that may cause further inflammation.
Smoking has been shown to increase the risks associated with Covid-19 and may make your respiratory side effects even more unpleasant. Covid-19 attacks multiple parts of the body, but it particularly loves to go for our respiratory systems.
With Covid-19, our respiratory systems will already be inflamed, and smoking can also increase this inflammation by damaging the lungs, which in turn, can make it harder for our bodies to fight off viruses.
Even without considering Covid, smokers are more likely to experience respiratory systems that can put them at increased risk of requiring hospital treatment.
It’s also thought that smoking, while you have Covid, may increase the risk of transmitting the illness to other people. When you smoke, you’re exhaling particles into the air, which may also spread the virus to other people nearby.
You’ll probably also be touching your face pretty frequently when you smoke, which may increase your risk of catching Covid if you don’t already have it.
Smoking anything (including cannabis) can also weaken your immune system. This may put additional strain on your body, and make it much harder for you to fight off infections such as Covid.
Smokers are at an increased risk of developing complications that may impact their immune systems, which could also increase the chance of severe Covid, or in extreme cases, death.
Although cannabis may be able to relieve some of your Covid symptoms, we would not recommend smoking it while you’re unwell. Smoking can make your symptoms worse, and increase your risk of developing a severe illness, or long Covid.
Can You Eat Edibles While On Medication?
So, you’ve made the wise decision NOT to smoke cannabis while you have Covid. What about edibles? Are they safe, and can you take them while you’re on medication (Also check out Can You Smoke Weed On Doxycycline?)?
Although eating cannabis is considered safer than smoking it, it still doesn’t come without its risks. There are some concerns that edible cannabis could interact with some medications, and have a particularly harsh effect on the human liver.
When you consume an edible, it’s processed by your liver, which will work hard to convert the THC into something called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is considered a much stronger psychoactive compound than regular THC.
This process will rely on the same enzymes that are used to metabolize other prescription medications you may take, which, unfortunately, also increases the risk of unpleasant interactions.
Some medications that are thought to interact with edibles can include:
- Benzodiazepines, which may cause increased sedative effects and impaired motor function when taken with edibles
- Statins, which may cause weakness, drowsiness, and muscle pain when taken with edibles
If you’re taking any type of medication for your liver function or liver disease, you may be more likely to experience an interaction when consuming edibles. We’d always advise talking to a trained medical professional before taking edibles with medication.
Unfortunately, there’s limited research on whether or not cannabis edibles interact with other medications, especially those like paracetamol and ibuprofen which you may be more likely to take if you’re experiencing Covid.
However, what we do know is that these medications are NOT processed and metabolized by the same enzymes as THC, which tells us that the risk of interaction is low.
However, there is no guarantee and research into this field is limited. If you have any concerns, talk to a medical professional.
Can Cannabis Help With Covid?
Honestly, it’s tough to say.
Plenty of studies suggest that some compounds in cannabis (such as CBD) may have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects, there is currently no evidence to suggest that taking cannabis can prevent or treat cases of Covid.
So, if you want to rely on cannabis to clear up your Covid, we’d advise you not to rely on it.
Smoking or vaping cannabis may be particularly harmful if you have Covid, and you’ll increase your risk of developing secondary infections. Avoid smoking or vaping while you have Covid to protect your health.
While it’s unclear whether cannabis can help with Covid, we do know of many medications that can help you effectively manage your symptoms.
For guaranteed relief of your symptoms, we’d recommend over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help manage symptoms such as pain and fever.
There are other medications for more severe cases of Covid, including Remdesivir (which has been approved for emergency use by the FDA), and other medications such as dexamethasone, a steroid medication that may improve survival rates in patients with critical Covid cases.
If your symptoms are mild to moderate, you will probably be advised to continue taking over-the-counter medications, getting plenty of rest and fluids, and ensuring you maintain a healthy diet. It seems that treating Covid in the same way you’d treat a cold or flu can be effective.
However, if you start experiencing more severe symptoms such as trouble breathing or a lack of consciousness, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately.
The Bottom Line
So, can you use cannabis while you have Covid?
One thing’s for sure – you definitely shouldn’t be smoking it. If you do want to take cannabis to manage your symptoms, you should consume cannabis in an edible form.
Remember: it’s unclear whether cannabis can help or hinder Covid, so take it at your own risk.
Although some of the effects of cannabis may give you relief from symptoms such as pain and insomnia, you may prefer to take an over-the-counter medication instead.
You should also avoid taking edibles if you’re on any of the prescribed medications above.
If you take prescription medications, you should seek medical advice before taking edible cannabis, as you may be at risk of experiencing an interaction.
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