Can Cannabis Inhibit The Progression of COVID-19?
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continually growing, one question that’s rolling in everyone’s minds is, “Is cannabis a cure for preventing COVID-19?” We could have answered that question without any inhibitions. But, since it is still a Schedule 1 drug, no one can jump right in and start a research on the action of cannabinoids on coronavirus. Although we don’t ignore the fact that marijuana is a therapeutic powerhouse, no study could confirm if it will harm or help someone who’s trying to avoid or cure the coronavirus infection. That’s why some people are so eager to obtain a medical cannabis card, while others are developing a new hobby “cannabis gardening” using a medical marijuana grower license.
So, until the federal agencies lift their ban on cannabis research, no one would know for sure if this could be a potential treatment option to curb the disease. For now, we are clear on two things:
- Cannabis does not cure or kill coronavirus.
- Smoking cannabis can make you vulnerable to the infection even more.
The next probable question would be, “Should I use cannabis during the coronavirus pandemic?” Well there are many layers to this simple question. So, let’s uncover the layers one-by-one and establish the link between cannabis and coronavirus.
Cannabis- Immunosuppressant or Immune Booster
Let me specify that there is no evidence that cannabis can cure coronavirus. But, there are a few studies that do determine marijuana’s disease prevention potential. One of the few is its anti-inflammatory action. So, it can bring down the inflammation quickly. Researchers found the overactive immune system is the biggest reason for deaths in coronavirus positive cases.
For instance, the infection triggers a cytokine storm that damages the human body and drives it to death. So, researchers are finding IL-6 cytokine inhibitors to provide relief from the infection. However, such drugs have severe side effects.
Surprisingly, both CBD and THC show incredible IL-6 inhibiting properties. So, there is a possibility that they can bring down the levels of these deadly cytokines. In fact, a NIDA grant might be enticing researchers and scientists to study the effects of marijuana on the COVID-19 virus. But, since it’s early research, nobody is sure of the results on a larger scale.
Also, it appears that cannabinoids present in cannabis act as immunomodulators. So, when cannabis works as an immunosuppressant agent, it will reduce the inflammation around the target area. And when it acts as an immune booster, it can override your immune system. So, because of its biphasic nature, no one can know if it will improve or worsen your condition. Hence, asking a doctor to provide a medical cannabis card might help solve the confusion for now.
Cannabis- Does it Provide High-Risk Patients?
It is no more hidden that a certain group of population is no at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Based on what we know and as per the CDC data, the following categories are susceptible to the infection.
- People who are 65 years and older.
- People who are a resident of an extended care facility
- People who have an underlying medical condition such as chronic lung disease, asthma, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, obesity, kidney, or liver disorders.
There are several studies and researching citings confirming the role of cannabis in reducing the incidences of these conditions. Even the people with alcohol, tobacco, or opioid addiction disorders can benefit from the therapeutic potency of the herb. Experts believe that cannabis helps make people healthier. Yet again, we urge the cannabis users not to start smoking. If you quit the smoking part, you will have a better chance of surviving.
The Role of Cannabis As an Antiviral Agent
Although the results are very much preliminary, cannabis surely has shown antiviral effects against HIV infection in the simian experiments. Still, one is not definite about its role in the coronavirus infection. For example, cannabis is showing potential in reducing oxidative stress. You might not know, cannabinoids are patented for their role to fight against oxidative stress. Doctors believe that those with THC in their system might survive a trip for issues like myocardial infarction or atrial fibrillation. Experts suggest that cannabis is more of a symptom solver than something that can cure or treat the infection. So, hoping it works in preventing the disease itself is bizarre.
So, after all the hustles here and there, here comes again the million-dollar question right now,
Can Medical Marijuana Help Prevent Coronavirus?
Ideally, there is no evidence about the action of cannabis against the COVID-19 infection. On the contrary, if you indulge in practices like cannabis smoking or vaping, you might make yourself susceptible to the infection even more. A study by the UCLA professor found that cannabis smoking can cause inflammation in the lung cells that can further trigger symptoms like phlegm production, or coughing. So, doctors providing a medical cannabis card are recommending not to go for cannabis smoking for the time being. Instead, go for methods that will help you support your condition. You can use oral tinctures, transdermal patches, oils, suppositories, lotion, edibles, and other similar forms.
“Can medical marijuana help with Coronavirus?” Nobody knows yet. And no one would ever find unless the roadblocks created by federal agencies are lifted away. Preliminary research definitely points out to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant role. Not only that, no one can deny it’s role as a supporting system to the high-risk patients. It’s high time that the higher officials realize that giving a green signal to the cannabis research can actually unlock many closed doors.
Who knows it might contain an element that could control the spread? And even if it does not add up to that, we might discover a new product that could slow down the infection within the body. The possibilities are many. And believe it or not, only scientific evaluations can put all this to rest for once and all. Until then, it would be better that you use it to counter your current health conditions rather than replacing it as a COVID-19 medication. If you are confused with all the information, talking to an expert providing a medical cannabis card would be helpful.
In the end, don’t forget:
- Try using online or curbside deliveries. However, if you wish to visit the store, keep a safe distance of 6-feet from another buyer.
- Frequently, wash your hands for 20 seconds.
- Don’t puff and pass.
- Clean your cannabis accessories with disinfectant before and after using it.
- Disinfect the outer packaging with alcohol-based disinfectant after every purchase.