Research from the WHO indicates cannabis smokers may be at higher risk.
A video shared on Facebook claiming that smoking cannabis can prevent COVID-19 is FALSE.
According to the video, non-smokers are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than regular smokers of cannabis, and the abundance of the drug in Jamaica is apparently the reason why there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.
However, while studies have shown that cannabis has medicinal properties, and a cannabis-based drug has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, there is no evidence to suggest it can be used to prevent COVID-19.
In fact, when the video was published on March 31, 2020, Jamaica had already confirmed 38 cases of COVID-19, indicating that smoking cannabis does not provide immunity against the disease.
The World Health Organization identifies people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, are the ones more vulnerable to COVID- 19, rather than those who don’t smoke cannabis as claimed.
Further, smoking cannabis can damage the lungs according to the American Lung Association, and can cause chronic bronchitis, which results from damage to the cells that line the airways. Lung damage from smoking has been cited by the World Health Organization as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 and could contribute to serious symptoms and death among patients that have underlying cardiovascular diseases
The five measures that the World Health Organization recommends to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are washing hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, not touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth, covering one’s nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing, social distancing by avoiding close contact with people who are unwell and staying home and self-isolating from others if unwell.
PesaCheck has looked into a claim that smoking cannabis can prevent COVID-19 and finds it to be FALSE.
This post is part of an ongoing series of PesaCheck fact-checks examining content marked as potential misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.
By partnering with Facebook and similar social media platforms, third-party fact-checking organisations like PesaCheck are helping to sort fact from fiction. We do this by giving the public deeper insight and context to posts they see in their social media feeds.
Have you spotted what you think is fake news or false information on Facebook? Here’s how you can report. And, here’s more information on PesaCheck’s methodology for fact-checking questionable content.
The article was approved for publication by PesaCheck Managing Editor Eric Mugendi.
PesaCheck is East Africa’s first public finance fact-checking initiative. It was co-founded by Catherine Gicheru and Justin Arenstein, and is being incubated by the continent’s largest civic technology and data journalism accelerator: Code for Africa. It seeks to help the public separate fact from fiction in public pronouncements about the numbers that shape our world, with a special emphasis on pronouncements about public finances that shape government’s delivery of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) public services, such as healthcare, rural development and access to water / sanitation. PesaCheck also tests the accuracy of media reportage. To find out more about the project, visit pesacheck.org.
PesaCheck is an initiative of Code for Africa, through its innovateAFRICA fund, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie, in partnership with a coalition of local media and other civic watchdog organisations in 14 African countries.