2 Chainz was making a tongue-in-cheek joke, but the health concerns around smoking and vaping marijuana remain.
Last week, public health officials and experts announced smoking or vaping marijuana carried higher risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. Using cannabis in this way also caused more severe symptoms in patients and urged quitting. The report coincided with news marijuana use had reached an all-time high in March, as 33% Americans reported using cannabis at some point in their lives.
“What happens to your airways when you smoke cannabis is that it causes some degree of inflammation, very similar to bronchitis, very similar to the type of inflammation that cigarette smoking can cause,” Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association, told CNN. “Now you have some airway inflammation and you get an infection on top of it. So, yes, your chance of getting more complications is there.”
Rapper 2 Chainz pushed back against these reports Sunday, though he didn’t refute the public health warnings. On social media, he questioned the framing of media reports targeting marijuana as the primary health concern.
“What about cigarettes , cigars , heroin , crack , meth ?? Or only reefa ? ?Asking for a friend,” 2 Chainz wrote on both Twitter and Instagram, alongside a picture of him smoking what is presumably a blunt.
Though the rapper posted this mostly tongue-in-cheek, it also represents a straw man argument. Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey issued an advisory last week encouraging residents to quit smoking and vaping any products, including tobacco and marijuana. An initial study investigating underlying causes to the spread of the coronavirus in China pinpointed cigarette smoking as a significant risk factor.
NORML, or the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws, also released a guide to responsible consumer safety tips during the coronavirus pandemic. They cautioned users against smoking at this time, and suggested edibles and tinctures as safer delivery methods at this time, stating:
“Because COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, you may wish to limit your exposure to combustive smoke. Use of edibles or tinctures can eliminate exposure to potential lung irritants entirely.”