Recent research has found that cannabis, while not providing a cure or prevention of COVID-19, could help treat conditions that often worsen a patient’s condition or even lead to death for some coronavirus patients.
Scientists have conducted studies on cannabis and COVID in many separate locations, including South Carolina, Israel, Georgia and Texas. All have found that cannabis may reduce the chances of the development of respiratory issues that are a hallmark of severe COVID cases.
Researchers caution that results are preliminary, and that people should not start using cannabis to treat the coronavirus. However, the findings have intrigued scientists. Most expected research into cannabis and COVID to continue.
Research from the University of South Carolina
Researchers at the University of South Carolina have found THC, the active ingredient in cannabis that causes the “high” feeling, may have properties that lessen the chances of “cytokine storms” that lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
These storms are an extreme immune system response to COVID. They contribute to fever, cough and muscle pain, They also can lead to high blood pressure, lung damage, ARDS and organ failure. ARDS can prove fatal or lead to permanent pulmonary scarring.
Researchers reported in their study that they ran three different experiments. In each, mice were given a toxin that causes a severe immune system response. All the mice given THC survived, while all the mice that did not receive THC died.
The team at the University of South Carolina is the same one that discovered cannabis may help prevent colon cancer.
Israeli Study Investigated Use of Cannabis Terpenes to Treat COVID-19
Israeli companies Eybna and CannaSoul recently started a new study on the use of cannabis terpenes on COVID-19 infections as well as on treatment of cytokine storms.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the new study is important because evidence “shows that many COVID-19 patients die because of the increase in the production of the inflammatory cytokine molecules, rather than the virus itself.”
Researchers report that preliminary results seem promising, with cannabis terpenes showing significant anti-inflammatory activity. To conduct the study, researchers used peripheral blood mononuclear cells donated by healthy individuals.
In a related study, researchers from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute published a paper that argued research is needed on the issue of cannabis and COVID because earlier studies show CBD has potential as a treatment.
And in yet another study from Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, researchers have found CBD may help patients with respiratory distress avoid “extreme interventions like mechanical ventilation as well as death from acute respiratory distress syndrome,” according to Science Daily.