As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, the effective cure or vaccine for this viral disease is yet to be found. Researchers around the world are scratching their heads looking for any leads as the answer could just lie in anything. Being one of the oldest medicinal drugs in the world, cannabis may as well be a good candidate for COVID-19 treatment.
Promising cannabis related COVID-19 research
The restrictions on the use of cannabis as a mainstream drug and the fact that COVID-19 is an emerging kind of SARS-CoV-2 infection means that there still limited research on what links them together. A Canadian University research in collaboration with two cannabis research companies have established that certain cannabis extracts could be effective in the prevention of this viral infection. Their finding is based on the fact that since the coronavirus uses the ACE2 receptor as a gateway to a human host, the modulation of this receptor will lower the vulnerability of the virus. Though it provides a ray of hope, this study is yet to be peer reviewed for publication.
Related researches are now centered around the impact that COVID 19 is having on patients that are already undergoing medical marijuana treatments. Telaviv University in partnership with a pharmaceutical company has announced a possible cannabis therapy inhaler using what they describe as ‘CBD-loaded exosomes’ against COVID-19. In another old research on the antiviral properties of cannabis, certain phytocompounds were found to exhibit strong anti-coronavirus effects.
Anti-inflammatory activity of CBD
Severe cases of COVID -19 are characterized by severe lung inflammation. Several studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids have established that they have an important role in the regulation of the immune system. This was shown by the fact that cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 were present in quite a number of immune cells. The deletion of CB2 receptors in animal studies has been found to aggravate inflammatory phenotype as a result of the up regulation of immune cell functions.
Besides, CBD anti-inflammatory properties were found to be antagonized by a CB2 receptor antagonist. There are also clinical studies that have confirmed the CBD reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These studies are pointers to the possibility of cannabis providing the much needed answer against the inflammatory effects of coronaviruses.
Can cannabis help with COVID-19?
From the above research evidences, there is strong evidence that certain cannabis compounds can help with COVID and more research needs to concentrate on this promising lead. With the legalization of medical marijuana in several US states now, there is no reason why this should not be done. While this is happening, there is need for those who may want to increase their cannabis intake in the hope of treating or preventing the virus to realize that the smoking of cannabis will expose them to a greater risk of lung infection. Any form of smoking or vaping is a threat because COVID-19 virus attacks the lungs. Moreover, most of the researches are still on early stages and it may take some time before the white smoke is seen.