The COVID-19 pandemic is still in force after kicking off at the beginning of last year. The numbers rose steadily, and at the time of writing, over 107 million people have contracted the virus, with 2.3 million having lost their lives. In recent months, a light at the end of a long and scary COVID tunnel has finally come with the development of a vaccine. The vaccine is meant to protect people from the virus in certain ways so that the world can return to normalcy.
The development of the COVID vaccine has raised quite a few questions when it comes to preexisting health conditions and other medications. Those who have a history of severe allergies to any ingredient or component of the newly created Pfizer vaccine are the only ones listed as unable to get it, and not much has been said in the way of other health conditions. So, what does that mean for medical marijuana users? Would dosing with MMJ affect the COVID vaccine? Let’s find out.
Does cannabis interfere with the COVID vaccine?
Many people who use medical marijuana as a way to deal with a chronic condition may be wondering whether their medication will have an effect on the COVID-19 vaccine, or vice versa. Unfortunately, there is limited information on the effects that MMJ has on the vaccine, if any at all.
Since there are no known interactions between the COVID-19 vaccine and the use of cannabis, it is safe to assume that the two will not react to one another in any serious way. Depending on your condition, it may be a good idea to speak with your health care provider prior to getting the COVID vaccine.
Should I stop taking MMJ to get the COVID vaccine?
Since there are no known interactions between medical marijuana and the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine, it would not be necessary to stop taking MMJ to get the COVID vaccine. The vaccine works by providing your body with a specific protein that is designed to register as the virus. This then initiates an immune response where COVID-specific antibodies can be created. These antibodies will stay in the body to ward off an infection or illness from COVID-19 if you do happen to come across the virus following widespread vaccinations and when safety measures are eased.
One thing to consider while using medical marijuana when you’re planning on getting the COVID-19 vaccine is how well your immune system functions, and whether or not the MMJ could be weakening it. For the vaccine to work as it should, the immune system will need to be able to properly respond to it. Some studies suggest that marijuana has the ability to suppress immune activity, which in theory could lessen the vaccine’s effects.
Smoking and COVID vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine will not give anyone the virus. What is used in the vaccine is a type of blueprint of the virus so that the body can create antibodies based on information it is given through mRNA. This means that it is unlikely that smoking medical marijuana and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will lead to adverse effects.
Smoking does hinder the immune system, though, which can lead to a suppression of immune function. Those with a weakened immune function may not be able to develop as many antibodies as their healthy counterparts, which could make the vaccine less effective. However, this is not definitive, and if you are not on the strict “no go” list for the vaccine, you should speak to your doctor about getting it.
How to ensure the efficacy of the COVID vaccine for MMJ users
If you wish to get the vaccine and are able to do so, you may want to consider switching your dosing method to something other than smoking. Smoking medical marijuana can have detrimental effects on the lungs. All types of smoke contain carcinogens and toxins that are released from the combustion. When you inhale this smoke, those substances get into the lungs. There are plenty of alternative ways to dose MMJ, such as edibles, topical ointments and creams, oils, and patches.
Since you use medical marijuana for a medical condition, it’s also important to stay on top of your dosing so that you are at your healthiest when taking the vaccine. This will ensure that it works as it should and that you continue to experience relief from your health condition while being protected from this dangerous virus.
Featured image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash