Can Cannabis Treat COVID-19? Scientists Look For Answers
Cannabis and coronavirus aren’t two terms you expect to see together. But scientists have started to explore whether marijuana might help them better treat those infected in the global pandemic.
Research has been launched that seeks to discover if cannabis can treat COVID-19, according to reporting done by Forbes. This includes the possibility of using cannabis to reduce susceptibility to the coronavirus and pot’s potential as an antiviral medication.
In a study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, researchers wrote: “We are very far from the level of evidence required to consider using cannabinoids as pharmacotherapy for viral illnesses, but the perpetual high level of interest in cannabinoids as medicine presents an important opportunity for clinicians.”
A New Study From Texas and Nebraska on CBD
Researchers from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute recently released a report that offers evidence cannabis can help address the inflammation experienced by many COVID-19 patients.
They focused on cytokine superstorms, which contribute to the fever, cough and muscle pain that happens with the virus. These superstorms can also lead to severe inflammation that causes lungs to clog and makes breathing difficult.
They write that CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical ingredient in cannabis that is used in many wellness products, “has shown beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in pre-clinical models of various chronic inflammatory diseases.”
Could Cannabis Make People Less Susceptible to COVID-19?
In a study not peer reviewed, researchers in Canada propose that cannabis sativa high in CBD may help lower inflammation and “become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy.”
They suggested that CBD also could help in preventative treatments, such as mouthwash and throat gargle that could decrease the chance of the virus entering the body through the mouth.
All this research indicates that, at preliminarily, there seems potential that cannabis can treat coronavirus. As the researchers from Canada put it: “Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.”
The study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research reached the same conclusion. However, they warned that it is the role of researchers and clinicians to remain calm during the pandemic and deliver “evidence-based clinical care.” They said medical scientists must focus on doing the studies necessary to understand how marijuana might be used in the pandemic.
They wrote, “If we can combine sensibility, empathy, and an evidence-based approach in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, we can have a significant impact on many patients’ lives.”
While it remains unclear if cannabis can treat COVID-19, enough evidence exists to look into the possibility. It won’t replace the need for masks, social distancing and an eventual vaccine, but it might help patients suffer less.