False Claim: Marijuana Kills Coronavirus

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Social media users have been sharing an image online that claims marijuana kills coronavirus. The image appears to be a photograph of a breaking news report but does not show a channel’s logo or name anywhere. The report uses the term “weed”, a slang term for marijuana. Reuters could not find any major news organizations broadcasting this image.

Many of those sharing this image appear to have done so in the manner of a joke, but some posts have comments that suggest not all have understood the joke, and others have shared it along with a call for legalization of the drug.

There is no evidence to back up the claim that marijuana kills coronavirus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists smoking as one of the things that are not effective against the virus and might cause harm. While this might refer to cigarettes smoking, the American Lung Association explains that smoking marijuana can also damage lungs and potentially affect the immune system and its ability to fight off diseases. The Michael G. DeGroote Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research advises on their website: “In addition to airway injury, cannabis smoke may increase the risk of airway infections such as pneumonia”.

Marijuana has been tested to be beneficial in some health conditions, unrelated to those presented by coronavirus cases. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health lists uses for marijuana and conditions that it may be beneficial to and says:

“Drugs containing cannabinoids may be helpful in treating certain rare forms of epilepsy, nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, and loss of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS. In addition, some evidence suggests modest benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain and multiple sclerosis symptoms. Cannabis isn’t helpful for glaucoma. Research on cannabis or cannabinoids for other conditions is in its early stages.”

There is no evidence to suggest marijuana could cure COVID-19. The WHO advises against smoking to treat the coronavirus, and studies show smoking marijuana increases risk of airway infections such as pneumonia, a condition that is developed in more severe coronavirus cases.