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Can cannabis heal or prevent the coronavirus? The data seems doubtful

resin-extraction-isolated-on-medical-marijuana

Resin Extraction Isolated On Medical Marijuana

During this moment of the coronavirus, one primary concern is on the minds of cannabis users: “Will cannabis treat or help avoid coronavirus … or does it make things worse? “Scientists can’t legitimately immediately hop in the lab and start studying cannabinoids against coronavirus directly. Yet we recognize that Cannabis has medicinal properties that may damage or support anyone seeking to prevent or combat SARS-CoV-2.

In reality, smoking weed can cause people more vulnerable to infection.

Dr. Donald Tashkin, a UCLA professor.

Only the termination of the federal ban will unleash the various functions of weed against this wicked modern drug epidemic, among others.

Can Cannabis stop the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Strictly speaking, there is no research to show that Cannabis can avoid coronavirus infection.

In reality, smoking weed can cause people more vulnerable to infection. Dr. Donald Tashkin, a UCLA professor who has thoroughly researched the impact of Cannabis on the lungs, has also found indications that cannabis consumption briefly improves the signs of bronchitis, such as swelling of the lungs, coughing and phlegm development. Although such results were far less severe than those seen with cigarettes, Tashkin advised the Los Angeles Times in April that “smoking raises the risk.” 

All the physicians we spoke to concluded that smoking is a safe thing right now. “I would recommend a lot less smoke,” says Dr. Frank Lucido, a GP and a cannabis clinician. “Because COVID-19 fatalities are respiratory accidents, it is better to prevent cannabis smoke in this situation.” 

However, if you are an individual who uses Cannabis medicinally and may not consider any forms of cannabis usage successful, do not panic.

“Few people like to vape or steam something, so they shouldn’t feel guilty about it,” says Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a surgeon and a teacher at Harvard Medical School.

He suggests it’s safe to quit smoking, but not at the disadvantage of the other medical needs.

Cannabis discourages inflammation

It suggests that cannabinoids dampen the immune system’s reaction to a new infection. Cannabis’s immunosuppressive effects derive from the idea that it decreases inflammation.

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Such properties are helpful in the battle against certain viruses that use inflammation to reproduce. However, it is not apparent from the work if such immune responses will be beneficial or detrimental to coronavirus, but we anticipate further studies to test them.

The latest NIDA grant aims to allow studies to investigate how marijuana usage affects the risks associated with COVID-19.

covid19
A CDC example of SARS-CoV-2 of the latest coronavirus that triggers COVID-19. (CDC)

Cannabinoids vs Covid-19 comorbidities

On the other side, Cannabis has a proven potential to suppress other coronavirus comorbidities.

Coronavirus may be exacerbated by diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and Cannabis is linked with a decreased occurrence of both.

‘We recognize that cannabis has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, but we don’t completely grasp how it should be utilized.’

Dr. Sue Sisley, a leading US cannabinoid clinician.

Cannabis will even help patients decrease the usage of alcohol, cigarettes and other medications that may exacerbate coronavirus usage. But again, doctors note that this doesn’t guarantee that if you head out and start consuming weed today, you’ll have a higher chance of surviving coronavirus.

“I am one of the people who thinks that cannabis will motivate people to be safer,” says Dr. Grinspoon. “So that’s a bit of a straightforward reason for suggesting that weed is beneficial in coronavirus.”

Soothing an immune system, “cytokine storm.”

cytokine-storms
Cytokine Storms

Although we have no evidence that Cannabis can cure coronavirus, Cannabis has some disease-prevention qualities that show the potential to help rather than harm coronavirus progression.

Top among these is its ability to bring down inflammation. Coronavirus experts tell us that a significant part of the fatal cases of later-stage COVID-19 is an overactive immune reaction called a cytokine earthquake. Such storms produce so much inflammation that they destroy the host’s own body and contribute to death.

Experts are looking at a class of medications named IL-6 cytokine inhibitors, while medicines already on the market might have significant side effects. Interestingly, both CBD and THC can inhibit IL-6, suggesting that they may be able to help bring down these dangerous cytokine storms.

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The experts advise that it is too early to conclude that weed may be a treatment. 

“We recognize that cannabis has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, but we don’t understand how it can be utilized, particularly when it comes to managing this particular disease,” said cannabis researcher Dr. Sue Sisley.

Nevertheless, she feels it is worth more studying these anti-inflammatory properties — looking at both cannabis flower and cannabis root — which have already been shown to reduce inflammatory symptoms.

Cannabinoids as antivirals?

Cannabis has also been shown to have antiviral effects and to reduce virus infection with HIV in animal studies. Even, some experts claim that Cannabis is unlikely to aid with coronavirus through this antiviral path.

“Cannabis is not an antiviral medication,” says Dr. Grinspoon, “we don’t use it to cure infections, we use it to relieve symptoms. Cannabis doesn’t even work that way.

Cannabis preserves cells from low oxygen deprivation.

Cannabis has also shown some ability to help with coronavirus disruption.

Cannabinoids eliminate oxidative stress, a central component of COVID-19 damage to critical organs such as the heart and brain. Also, several cannabinoids are licenced for it.

Such effects may explain why patients with Cannabis in their body are more likely to endure a ride to the ER with cardiac attacks such as atrial fibrillation and myocardial infarction, all of which are issues of severe coronavirus events.

‘The truth is, it’s a modern infection, so there’s little evidence about cannabis anyway.’

Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a prominent cannabinoid-specialized physician.

However, with such promising points in support of Cannabis, cannabis experts so clinicians urge skepticism when believing that Cannabis can benefit.

“People must hold their horses, not extrapolate, and not make unsubstantiated claims,” says Dr. Grinspoon. “People who are anti-cannabis really like to believe that Cannabis is detrimental to you when you have coronavirus, and people who are pro-cannabis really want to say that cannabis benefits you when you have coronavirus. But the fact is, it’s a new virus, and there’s no data for Cannabis either way.

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Bottom line: Prohibition sacrifices needed analysis.

This scarcity of evidence highlights the significance of removing regulatory roadblocks to work on cannabinoids for anti-inflammation, oxidative stress treatment in the heart and brain, insulin tolerance, and opioid cessation.

For decades, the Federal Prohibition and Arcane Guidelines have prohibited any American drug science. Also now, American scholars are unable to control pharmacologically complicated Cannabis distributed in free state commercial markets. Instead, their only legal outlet for cannabis testing is an NIDA-contracted farm in Mississippi, which produces a relatively low-power and poor-quality seed. Before scientists may legally research Cannabis — as consumers currently use it — it would be hard to tell how it could impact coronavirus.

Seizure conditions are a startling example of the effects of this work void. Before its current therapeutic revival in the 21st century, numerous disabled children and adults in the US were destroyed without exposure to cannabidiol (CBD), leading to devastating seizures. The physicians didn’t talk about CBD; the physicians couldn’t recommend it so that the patients couldn’t get it.

Dr. Sue Sisley says, “We can certainly look more closely into the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis.” Not just for today, but also potential pandemics.

On April 17, Canadian researchers flagged multiple cannabis cultivars for potential use to minimize SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Much further follow-up work is required, but this is a promising start.

“I think it’s a good investment of time and resources because we know we’re going to face these pandemics regularly,” Sisley said. “We need to be more equipped next time, not that [we end up needing to do] disaster work.”