Vaccinations and MMJ: All You Need To Know
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived, it feels like we can make it to the other side of this pandemic. But because we are still in the early stages of vaccination, there are still a lot of questions about the vaccine. Medical marijuana (MMJ) users may have other questions, including “Does marijuana affect the COVID vaccine?” To learn more about the link between vaccinations and MMJ, read on.
What is the COVID-19 vaccine?
First of all, you may be wondering what the COVID vaccine is. The vaccine is currently sold by three different pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). The first two brands of vaccine require two vaccinations three or four weeks apart, while the third option is just one vaccination. The shots will be given in your arm by a doctor or pharmacist (just like a regular flu shot).
The vaccine was designed to protect people from the coronavirus and went through extensive clinical studies to test its safety. The vaccine is believed to be effective in up to 90-95% of people. This means that only a small percentage of people still get infected with the virus despite being vaccinated. The vaccine is also valuable in that it can help people who contract COVID not get as badly ill from it.
Image by CDC on Unsplash: Getting your COVID vaccine is an ideal way to avoid getting sick from the virus.
Does cannabis affect the effectiveness of the vaccination?
At the time of writing, there have been no extensive studies of the impact of marijuana on vaccine effectiveness. Much more information needs to be gathered before doctors and researchers can make this decision. There are currently no clinical studies to suggest that using MMJ products makes the vaccine less effective.
Some research into marijuana use in COVID was conducted over the past year. Results vary: some researchers believe that marijuana might actually help with COVID symptoms, while others believe it might make symptoms worse in late-stage COVID. The researchers seem to agree on one thing: Smoking cannabis can be harmful at any age as it can weaken the lung’s response to external germs (such as COVID).
If you are concerned about cannabis and COVID-19, your best bet is to use edible products or tinctures while drinking. Bottom line: We don’t yet know if the vaccine is affected by cannabis use, but if you use MMJ products and get vaccinated, you are likely to be fine. It is assumed that the vaccine will be just as effective.
Can MMJ patients be vaccinated?
There are currently no restrictions on vaccinating MMJ patients. In fact, many MMJ users are great vaccine candidates because they often suffer from chronic diseases. In many states, people with a variety of serious medical conditions can now be vaccinated (including people with diabetes, lung disease, cancer, etc.). People who rely on MMJ products for physical symptom relief are also likely to be eligible for the COVID vaccine.
As an MMJ patient, what steps should you take to get vaccinated?
As there are still many unknowns at the moment, there are a few extra steps you should take before vaccinating to ensure your safety.
1. Check if your state qualifies for the vaccine
Each state carries out the vaccine rollout a little differently. Some states have already started vaccinating their general populations, while others (like California) are currently only vaccinating health care and vital workers. To see if you are currently eligible for a vaccine, visit your country’s Department of Health website. There you will find information about when it is your turn to get vaccinated.
2. Call your doctor
If you are an MMJ user, it is a good idea to contact your doctor before getting any vaccinations. They can help answer questions about cannabis use and vaccination safety. Make sure to ask any questions you may be wondering about, including any side effects or post-vaccination symptoms, so you have all the information you need to feel safe.
3. Make an appointment
Different states treat vaccine appointments differently. Information on how and when to schedule an appointment can be found on the website of your state’s Department of Health, as mentioned above. When making an appointment, be sure to read everything you need to bring (usually ID and / or documentation) so that you are ready to receive your vaccine by the appointed time.
Obviously, more studies are needed to understand more about the relationship between MMJ and vaccines. At this point, it is best to ask your doctor about this and continue to use your MMJ products responsibly.
Featured image by Hakan Nural on Unsplash