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Inaccurate Information Regarding Cannabis and COVID-19

Dear Editor,

Please consider an update to the inaccurate article from your website:  

Severe COVID-19 Infections More Likely In Marijuana Smokers And Vapers

First off, the title seems to state this as a fact, when in the body of the editorial you admit that there are zero studies that actually conclude this as fact. As I’m sure you know, a huge proportion of readers will read the title only, and your title is false. A correct title would be:

Severe COVID-19 Infections is More Likely In Tobacco Smokers

The data that you are relying on to say that Marijuana Smokers in particular are at risk, is based on populations in Italy and China who are heavy tobacco smokers. Although marijuana smoking (in the version of splits, which is hash and tobacco mixed together) is also common in Italy, the consumption of marijuana is not as common in China which is strictly prohibited by the government, yet heavy tobacco smoking is ubiquitous especially among males in China.

Sure, you can hypothesize that marijuana smoking may cause someone to have a higher risk of complications with COVID-19; and this is a reasonable hypothesis. Indeed on April 3, your publication pointed out that NIDA is offering 100K grants to study this hypothesis. It is journalistic negligence to say that this is a fact in your title when making consideration of heavy tobacco smokers.

Furthermore, you also do harm by including “and vaping” in your title — vaping certainly may have its own problems, but the reason for vaping is to avoid the tar and carcinogenic elements from the combustion of plant material (either marijuana or tobacco). So, sure, better to breathe “the clean air” than to vape during a pandemic, but all evidence is that vaping as a method to avoid combustion smoking is, in fact, healthier than combustion smoking of either tobacco or marijuana.

I know this has been floating around the internet for the past few weeks, but I would hope the Fresh Toast will do its part to NOT spread drastically misleading information. Especially the basic mistake of attributing TOBACCO damage as one and the same with marijuana, or even the vaping of either substance.

Dr. James R. Lathrop, DNP FNPCEO of Cannabis City, 
Seattle’s Original Cannabis Store