Joshua Bote USA TODAY
Published 1:25 PM EST Dec 4, 2019
Country music outlaw and marijuana proponent Willie Nelson has quit smoking weed, citing personal health concerns.
“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful,” Nelson, 86, said in an interview with KSAT-TV in San Antonio on Friday. “I don’t smoke anymore. I take better care of myself today.”
Nelson, who has a history of emphysema and pneumonia per Rolling Stone and The Washington Post and started smoking cigarettes at a young age, did not specify how he consumes cannabis now. Nelson’s marijuana company, Willie’s Reserve, sells cannabis in edible, vape cartridge and flower form.
Elaine Schock, Willie Nelson’s publicist, confirmed to USA TODAY that he still uses cannabis but did not specify in what form.
“Willie does what he wants when he wants regarding smoking,” she said in an emailed statement. “There are numerous ways of consumption.”
What’s better — vaping cannabis oil or smoking?
Though it’s been offered as a viable alternative to smoking, the risks associated with vaping THC oils may be more harmful for the lungs than smoking a joint.
Four out of five cases of lung injury and death linked with vaping in the United States involve the use of THC, alone or with nicotine. These cases are often linked to vaping marijuana oil that had been contaminated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last month that Vitamin E acetate, an additive sometimes used to thicken or dilute THC oil in illegally-sourced vape cartridges, was found in 29 patients with lung illnesses connected with vaping.
Though legal vape “juice” manufacturers were not found to be associated with injuries, the CDC recommends a cessation of e-cigarette use entirely.
From April: Willie Nelson says that marijuana ‘saved my life’
Is vaping safer than smoking?: Depends who you ask, and what scientific study they point to
Do edibles pose less risks than smoking weed?
Edibles, while less commonly used than other forms of cannabis, can also pose some unexpected risks.
A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that around 10% of cannabis-linked emergency room hospitalizations in Colorado were tied to edible cannabis, even though edibles comprised less than one-third of 1% of total sales.
Consumers of edibles were more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric issues and intoxication, even in people without a history of mental illness.
In any case, Nelson still appears to be a proponent of pot, telling Rolling Stone in April that the substance saved his life.