April 28, 2020/Lung

Can Smoking Marijuana Increase Your Chances of Getting the Coronavirus?

The short answer from a pulmonologist

man smoking marijuana

Q: Can smoking marijuana increase your chances of getting the coronavirus?

A: This is a very good question because, in the United States, we seem to have a higher rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations among people who are under the age of 50 — much higher compared with other countries. One of the possible reasons could be that this country has higher rates of vaping and marijuana use. So, one hypothesis is that vaping or smoking cigarettes or marijuana could be one of the factors that put young people at risk of acquiring this infection.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

The body is smart enough to protect us from infections that are in the air. But vaping and smoking marijuana can suppress our natural defense systems. So, it is very possible that smoking marijuana could increase someone’s chances of getting infections such as COVID-19.

A lot of marijuana-derived vaping products are often modified at home to make them more intense. Because the ingredients are hard to track, this can be dangerous. We do know that smoking marijuana itself, like in a joint, can increase the risk of certain lung infections, especially fungal infections.

In general, the rule of thumb is that the lungs really need to breathe clean air. If you are inhaling a substance that contains THC or CBD for a supposed medical treatment, consider a more conventional option that doesn’t affect the lungs.

— Pulmonologist Humberto Choi, MD.

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

blood clot inside an artery
April 26, 2024/Infectious Disease
The Connection Between COVID-19 and Blood Clots

An increased risk of blood clots can last for nearly a year after a COVID-19 diagnosis

Person getting an audiogram, with technician
April 1, 2024/Ear, Nose & Throat
The Link Between COVID-19 and Tinnitus (That Ringing in Your Ears)

COVID-19 may be associated with tinnitus, but research is still ongoing

aerial view over crowd of commuters
March 18, 2024/Infectious Disease
How Does COVID Immunity Work?

The short answer: It’s complicated, but the basic care precautions still prevail, like washing your hands and isolating if you’re sick

Person experiencing COVID headache, with calendar months floating in background
March 11, 2024/Brain & Nervous System
What To Know About COVID Headaches

They can feel like a typical headache or a migraine headache, but the pain can last for weeks to months

crowd of people at music concert
February 5, 2024/Infectious Disease
What Constitutes a ‘Superspreader Event’?

Any large social gathering — from a family birthday party to an indoor music concert — has the potential to spread serious infection

Female wrapped in blanket laying on sofa looking fatigued or unwell
January 23, 2024/Infectious Disease
How To Manage COVID Fatigue and Regain Your Energy

It’s important to connect with a healthcare provider, get quality sleep and balance your activities with your energy levels

Sick person on couch using tissue on nose with medication bottles on coffee table
How To Know if It’s COVID-19, a Cold or Allergies

Symptoms can overlap and be hard to distinguish, but there are some telltale differences

Close-up of hands in lab gloves sorting vials and covid-19 blood sample
January 17, 2024/Infectious Disease
Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19 Variants

Just like the flu, COVID-19 will continue to evolve every year

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey