Many people regard cannabis simply as a way to get high, or to escape from everyday concerns. Nonetheless, there are indications that weed could also come with important health benefits related to COVID-19. As it turns out, cannabis contains a wide range of compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, that can have positive effects on the body and mind. For this reason, scientists are investigating the potential role that cannabis could play in treating COVID-19. Preliminary results look promising to say the least.
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The Second Wave
Now that we can’t deny the second wave of corona infections rising up around us, many people worry about their health. Anyone can get COVID-19, regardless of age, sex, or background; that much is for sure. The race for a vaccine is on, but so far, none have been accepted as effective and safe. So is there anything we can do to support our health beyond sticking to the corona measures?
Cannabis is known to be a plant full of valuable compounds, each of which has potential to support our health in different ways. Research is ongoing to unlock the secrets of a range of different cannabinoids, which are capable of working together with the human endocannabinoid system. The current focus is on the possibilities of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the treatment of COVID-19. Both are phytocannabinoids occurring naturally in cannabis plants.
Cannabis And Severe COVID-19 Cases
Let make this clear from the outset: conclusive evidence is still some way off, and research is still ongoing. We’re not trying to make any bold medical statements here; we are merely exploring the possibilities of cannabis and COVID-19. However, the few scraps of preliminary results do hint at some potential of cannabis in reducing the production of inflammation proteins, known as cytokines, by our immune system. Right now, this is an area of particular interest for science.
Many of the most severe COVID-19 cases involve overproduction of such cytokines. This escalation of our natural immune response is known as a ‘cytokine storm’: the body starts attacking its own cells and tissues instead of the virus it is supposed to fight.
In such cases, both CBD and THC could have useful parts to play. Scientists indicate that pure CBD can help the lungs recover from severe complaints caused by cytokine storms triggered by COVID-19. It can help restore normal oxygen levels in the body.
A study by scientists at the Dental College of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia demonstrates that CBD can help relieve the symptoms experienced by COVID-19 patients. This could provide relief for serious breathing difficulties, preventing mechanical ventilation and ARDS, although this has not yet been tested on humans. The only studies conducted so far involved mice, but as with all medical science, researchers have to move with caution.
Influence Of Cannabis On ARDS
One consequence of a cytokine storm is ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). The Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal explains that in severe cases of viral respiratory tract infection, ARDS is one of the chief causes of death, including cases of COVID-19. Better treatment options are urgently needed.
One of the studies conducted to zoom in on the potential effect of cannabis on cytokine storms involved mice. Two groups of healthy mice were exposed to a bacterial infection caused by Staphylococcus enterotoxin B. This bacteria causes ARDS in mice, usually with fatal consequences. The scientists treated one group with THC immediately after exposure; further doses followed 24 and 48 hours later.
All mice in the control group, which had not received THC, died because of ARDS, whereas all mice administered THC survived. The study concluded that THC reduced pneumonia related lung inflammation, as well as lessening the severity of cytokine storms. In addition, the blood of all mice treated with THC showed increased T-cell concentrations, which helps suppress inflammation.
For now, we will have to wait for more data to come in, but it appears as though both CBD and THC could offer valuable options for reducing or even preventing some of the most dramatic and lethal coronavirus infection symptoms. Scientists are hopeful about the initial results. Still, we should realise that these studies only involved mice. More research is needed before we can proceed to treating human subjects with CBD or THC. We can’t predict whether the same results will apply to people affected by COVID-19.
Cannabis And COVID-19: Are Edibles Healthier Than Smoking?
Cannabis consumption could have potential advantages during the corona pandemic. On the other hand, smoking weed could be counterproductive due to the negative impact of smoking on the lungs. That’s why many people wonder whether they should switch to edibles: food with THC inside (spacecake). Of course, CBD edibles are also available, although CBD cannabis seeds are certainly an option for the growers and smokers among us.
Edibles will deliver THC to your system, but it will circumvent your lungs on the way to your bloodstream. The downside of edibles, though, is that you can never be sure how much THC you ingest. This differs between products and producers. In addition, it’s often hard to predict the exact effect. Smoking cannabis is a quicker way to experience these effects, allowing you to determine when you’ve had enough in time to put down that joint. The effects set in later when you choose to munch away on edibles. If you’ve used too much, there is little else to it but to wait and sit out the (bad) trip. Not much fun if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
The Possibilities Of Cannabis For Treating COVID-19
As the above findings show, cannabis consumption could offer advantages during the corona pandemic. This is not only due to the protective properties it could offer; cannabis can be a source of mental support as well. You are not the only one experiencing more stress and anxiety these days. Now, we want to point out that cannabis is no point-and-click cure for anxiety. In fact, some people experience increased feelings of anxiety after smoking weed. Do don’t make the mistake of simply getting baked and then finding out your nagging fear escalates into a full-blown panic attack. However, the fact is that the consequences of corona are increasingly impacting various facets of everyday life: socially, financially, and, of course, in terms of health. To some people, moderate use of anxiety-reducing cannabis strains could offer temporary relief. Depending on your preferences, CBD-rich strains could do the same. Ask your local budtender for such strains if you’re not sure which to choose.
Keeping Your Spirits Up
Of course, with cannabis, it is fairly easy to have ‘too much of a good thing’. The same applies to generally accepted mainstream medication, though. At any rate, you now know that ongoing research is focusing on interesting possibilities for using cannabis to tackle COVID-19. Perhaps that prospect alone is enough to cheer you up a bit in these gloomy times. No matter what you do, though, do make sure you stay healthy and try to keep your spirits up. We will keep you informed of further developments – until then: stay safe!