Can Cannabis Cure COVID-19?
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) and How does COVID-19 Attack Your Body?
Before we get to the exciting part of how cannabis can be instrumental for COVID-19 symptoms, it is important to understand what this disease is and how it impacts the human body.
There are many types of coronaviruses and they have different effects on the body - the symptoms can be as mild as a common cold while other types of coronavirus, like COVID-19, can have more severe symptoms such as trouble breathing and chest pain resulting from inflammation in the lungs.
Where does the name COVID-19 come from?
For clarification, the name COVID-19 comes from ‘CO’ which stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. COVID-19 is a disease and it is caused by the virus (or coronavirus) SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The name of the disease is different from the virus that causes it. Another example of this is AIDS (the disease) caused by HIV (the virus).
What is a coronavirus?
The general term coronavirus refers to a subcategory of viruses that are named after their crown-like spikes. Like we said earlier, coronaviruses are responsible for common colds as well as other infamous diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 starts with droplets from an infected person’s breath. This can be airborne or from an infected surface such as a table, pen, or door handle. By touching an infected surface and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose you risk transferring the virus to your body.
As the virus moves through your body you experience mild symptoms mentioned above, but sometimes the virus can affect your respiratory system causing inflammation and shortness of breath. In more serious cases, a patient can experience Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
Many patients who experience ARDS are likely to need a ventilator to assist with breathing. ARDS has a tendency to impact a person’s breathing and collect water in the lungs causing reduced flow of oxygen to vital organs. This can cause your lungs, liver, and kidneys to shut down, which can be fatal.
Researchers are focusing on reducing inflammation as one of the strategies to fight COVID-19.
What Can Cannabis Do to Help?
Recent reports show that serious infections of coronavirus are from cytokine superstorms in our body. Cytokines are proteins produced by the immune system to help communicate with other cells. The ‘bad’ types of cytokine can cause fever, cough, muscle pain symptoms and inflammation that can even lead to severe pneumonia. Cannabinoids can help combat the bad cytokine proteins to minimize or prevent inflammation.
Texas Biomedical Research Institute and University of Nebraska are recommending more research into how cannabinoids might help treat severe lung inflammation from the coronavirus (COVID-19). Cannabis-derived cannabidiol (CBD), more specifically is the focal point as it has anti-inflammatory properties with no psychotropic effects (feeling of being high).
There are other prescription drugs available to reduce inflammation, but they come with significant side effects such as inflammation of the pancreas or risk of coronary artery disease, yikes! So in order to treat inflammation in the lungs caused by COVID-19 we have to risk our pancreas and arteries? Sounds like a crappy decision to make. That's where cannabis comes in! Researchers are focusing specifically on CBD because of its anti-inflammatory properties without severe side effects! But that's not all, CBD is also known to reduce anxiety. This is particularly important during a pandemic with concerns over health, employment, overall status of the economy and the nerve wracking thought of upcoming elections!
So What Does This All Mean to Me?
COVID-19 is one bad m.f. In 8 out of 10 cases this virus is not life threatening. However, for those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions coronavirus should be a concern.
COVID-19 can cause inflammation of the lungs which in turn can reduce oxygen flow and affect the function of other vital organs. Anti-inflammation prescription drugs may have severe side effects that can lead to other health problems. CBD is a valid anti-inflammatory option with very few side effects.
Without further research this is just a well-supported theory instead of an actual remedy. Scientists are NOT saying cannabinoids are the cure to COVID-19, however, they are saying it is definitely worth investigating further given the preliminary findings.
Whether it be COVID-19 or inflammation in your body for other reasons, cannabinoids can be a likely ‘clean’ anti-inflammatory option to consider.
What can I do to protect myself and others?
The CDC, Center for Disease Control, recommends the following to minimize your risk to contract and transmit COVID-19:
Social Distancing (about 6 feet)
Wash your hands with soap and water often. If that isn’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, counters and phones)
Cover both your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. #wearamask