As people continue to isolate, rates of substance use continue to rise rapidly. This includes the use of marijuana, and it’s certainly worth discussing.
Know the Risks
Scientifically-defensible data about the true risks of regular marijuana use are more readily accessible today. It is important to know the risks, especially considering the new forms and tremendously high levels of THC available to users. The higher the potency, the greater is the risk of addiction and adverse consequences. For instance, the World Health Organization recently published a study that found that COVID-19 disease was significantly higher among patients who smoked both nicotine and marijuana. Marijuana is worse: cannabis inhalations are 66% larger in puff volume and 33% in inhaled volume than tobacco inhalation. Cannabis smokers hold their breath four times longer and inhale five times the concentration of carbonhemoglobins.
According to an article on CNN last month, “smoking marijuana, even occasionally, can increase your risk for more severe complications from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.” Smoking marijuana regularly damages the lungs over time, too — these inflammation problems can exacerbate the disease.
The American Heart Association reviewed the connection between heart health and cannabis in their journal. As reported by CNN, the Deputy Chief Science and Medical Officer said in a statement, “The American Heart Association recommends that people not smoke or vape any substance, including cannabis products, because of the potential harm to the heart, lungs and blood vessels.” Marijuana can interfere with other medications, too.
In a report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), regular, long-term use may increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder and heavy users are more likely to report thoughts of suicide. A UK study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, noted that the use of high-potency weed could dramatically increase developing an anxiety disorder. From WebMD, here are a few more important notes:
- During Covid-19, smoking or vaping cannabis is not advisable.
- Edibles can be high in sugar and there is a risk of a “bad trip”.
- The effect of cannabis on the immune system is still being studied.
Find Help and Great Resources
There is help for you!
Marijuana Anonymous (M.A.) online is open 24/7. Their program is guided by 12 Traditions. The first Tradition reads: “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon M.A. unity.” The online portal above (District 13) has resources including literature, their steps and traditions, chat rooms, and schedules.
Columbia Treatment Center (CTC) offers a marijuana education program, called Operation Impact. This specially-designed program is based on the premise that the decision to use marijuana is yours, but only after you know scientifically defensible data about the substance. We simply provide essential information and encourage dialogue between presenter and participants so that you can make the best decision for you and your family members.
To be a part of Operation Impact, please call us at 410-730-1333.
Our staff at CTC can guide you. We can help you manage stress and anxiety, too, especially if that’s one of your reasons for using marijuana. You can contact us by phone or by email anytime. We are more than happy to set up a Zoom call with you as well.