Cannabis VS Covid-19

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down.  There have been over 15 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than half a million people have died.  There is a global race to find a vaccine and cure for COVID-19.  Until then, the best measures we know for a fact work are wearing masks and keeping social distance.  Eye protection can also help (Chu, D.K., Akl E.A., Duda, S., Solo, K., Yaacoub, S., Schünemann, H, J.)[3].  While we are taking these precautions, scientists are looking into cannabis and other supplements which may improve outcomes in patients and prevent complications.

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 Is Weed a Coronavirus Cure?

Images like this have done the rounds on social media.  Is there any truth to it?  In the age of disinformation, it’s very hard to tell what is true and what is fake news.

Recently, researchers have been looking into whether weed can reduce the chances of catching coronavirus and if it may even be one of many possible ways to treat COVID-19.  Some researchers have suggested that marijuana could reduce lung inflammation caused by COVID-19.

COVID-19 and the cannabis industry

Despite many of the US’s current ills, it has recently approved an ace in the hole for a variety of ills in the 2018 Farm Bill. This piece of legislation made the production and sale of industrial hemp legal on the federal level in all 50 states and US territories and reservations. An industrial hemp is a form of cannabis sativa with .3% or less THC concentration.  THC is Tetrahydrocannabinol, the main cannabinoid in most strains of cannabis sativa and the chemical which causes its psychoactive effect. Though THC also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, for many persons and for children, the psychoactive effect is unwelcome. Another cannabinoid, cannabidiol, or CBD has proven to have potent anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating effects. Industrial hemp, legal in all 50 states, is a prime source of cannabidiol.

The new CBD industry will hit $ 20 billion by 2024. Aside from the CBD sold online and in headshops (see our reviews to make sure you get REAL CBD, as many products are fake and ineffective), the FDA has approved two CBD based prescription medications for childhood seizures and other conditions, they are Epidiolex (Pure CBD) and Sativex (1:1 CBD: THC).  CBD and cannabis-related treatment are poised to become one of the premier medical interventions of our era.

Cannabinoid Treatment and Viral Illnesses: News & Clinical Study

Coronavirus May Create a Clinical Opportunity for researchers to share an effective treatment strategy to calm the immune system of patients to prevent complications from the virus.

Can Weed Prevent Covid-19?

A paper in Preprints 2020 first hypothesized that cannabis might help prevent the development of cytokine storm, the deadly form of lung inflammation which leads to many COVID-19 fatalities. The paper was titled “In Search of Preventative Strategies: Novel Anti-Inflammatory High-CBD Cannabis Sativa Extracts Modulate ACE2 Expression in COVID-19 Gateway Tissues.”[4]  This study is not proof that cannabis or CBD is effective for COVID-19 but rather uses the fact that CBD modulates a protein called ACE2, embedded in the membrane of cells of the lungs, airways, and other tissues, to extrapolate a rationale for studying CBD in COVID19.  COVID19 attaches to the ACE2 receptor to gain entry into the cell to reproduce and destroy the organ tissue. CBD may be able to modulate levels of this receptor protein such that COVID19 is unable to attach and unlock the flood gates to enter the cell.  Without the ability to reproduce, the virus is just a sitting duck for immune cells to attack.

Having lower levels of ACE2 protein, to begin with might make it harder for the virus to infect an individual as viral particles will be less able to reproduce in the nasal passages before spreading to the lungs.

Does CBD or weed have anti-virus properties?

A few studies in the past have demonstrated actions of weed/CBD on viral infection parameters.

A 2017 study published in Pharmacognosy Research examined the effect of CBD on hepatitis viruses. They found CBD cut the replication of hepatitis C viruses by 86.4 %.[5] The effect was as efficient as interferon treatment. For unknown reasons, it was not efficacious for hepatitis B. This study was done on infected cells in the lab, not in actual persons. The strong reduction of HCV replication warrants further study on the anti-viral properties of CBD and other components of the marijuana plant.

A 2019 study in Epilepsia Open revealed that in the cause of Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus in mice, CBD was able to attenuate the proliferation of microglia and activation of leukocytes. This is important because the cytokine storm of COVID19 is a direct parallel to the autoimmune-like attacks on the body that appears in this model.

Could Cannabis prevent COVID19?

Theoretically, if cannabis could reduce the quantity of ACE2 binding sites for the virus, it might prevent infection from ever being able to take root. For a viral infection to take root, thousands and more of cells have to be successfully infected, not just one or even hundreds. The immune system might take out a small population of viruses without symptoms, you might sneeze it out, or it might die of its own fragility. The virus has to enter many cells using it’s spike protein as a key to fit into the ACE2 receptor and enter the cell where it reproduces and bursts from the cell to infect other cells. CBD might reduce the number of available ACE2 binding sites and the virus would have nowhere to go except to be flushed from the system or destroyed by immune cells.

Could Cannabis Treat COVID19

The research suggests the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, THC, industrial hemp, and marijuana might be able to reduce the inflammation in the lungs which may lead to deadly outcomes.

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CBD with terpenes intact (smoked or edible industrial hemp whole leaf) may be better than CBD alone.

Risks: is smoking marijuana bad for your lungs?

Smoked weed effects on your lungs:

A 2012 study published in JAMA looked at the effect of low and occasional weed smoke on the lungs of smokers.  In contrast to tobacco, low and occasional marijuana smoke did not decrease lung function.  One joint per day does not appear to decrease lung function.

A 2016 literature review of cannabis studies in the Natural Partners journal found that while tobacco was associated with lung ailments, marijuana smoking may have been associated with an increase in forced vital capacity, revealing improved lung function. The reasons for this are unclear but point to the anti-inflammatory effects of marijuana.[7] 

A 2018 review of marijuana effects on the lungs in the journal Breathe concluded that there is no clear association between marijuana use alone and lung cancer.[8] Other studies suggest no evidence of COPD from marijuana use alone.

So, from what we know now, smoked marijuana can cause coughing and wheezing acutely. It’s intuitive that this could harm the lungs over time, yet studies have not yet linked marijuana smoking to lung cancer or COPD. The increase in forced vital capacity in marijuana smokers also suggests that marijuana may be able to treat lung inflammation, such as is present in COVID19.

Does smoking weed lower your immune system?

Yes and no.  It will not weaken your immune system.  The deadly cytokine storm of COVID-19 is the immune system gone awry, and the hope is that marijuana and CBD will tame this overactive immune response.

Positive Side Effects

Is Weed Good For Depression?

Medical marijuana for depression and anxiety is a frequent prescription in states which allow recreational and medicinal use in the United States.  Marijuana as prescribed by a doctor might be able to improve mood, but reckless use of marijuana is associated with depression. Also, marijuana increases anxiety in some users while decreasing it in others. Those sensitive to the anxiety-inducing aspect of marijuana should use a low THC, high CBD strain like Cannatonic or ACDC.

What is the best marijuana for anxiety?

# 1 ACDC is the descendent of the CBD rich cannabis Ruderalis and Cannatonic strains. It packs a whopping over 20 % CBD with only 1 to 6% THC. This is a calm and relaxing smoke or edible. You can get versions that will only have an anti-inflammatory effect and a calming effect.  It may cause zero-high or merely a light buzz. This strain is a great compliment for anxiety or even a nightcap, even for those who normally get panicky when they smoke garden variety strains of marijuana.

Are there current trials of cannabidiol to treat mental disorders during coronavirus 19 or the virus itself?

On clinicaltrials.gov, a current study is recruiting from the University of Sao Paulo Brazil.

Cannabidiol for CoviD-19 patients With Mild to Moderate Symptoms

This study uses the rationale as expounded in this article, that CBD may help modulate levels of ACE2 and inflammatory cytokines.

There’s a study of cannabidiol for bipolar depression: Cannabidiol as an Adjunctive Treatment for Bipolar Depression

Other supplements and herbs with evidence of the ability to fight coronavirus include melatonin, zinc, and vitamin D3.

Conclusion: Is it true that weed kills coronavirus?

Marijuana and CBD in particular may have efficacy in decreasing inflammation associated with COVID19. It may also make it more difficult for COVID19 to enter cells. It is not known to directly kill the virus according to the known rationale, therefore, it may or may not have to be taken by smoking or vape to be effective. An edible should still have anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body. In any case, if you are already an experienced marijuana user, there is no need according to these studies to stop using due to the pandemic.

References

[1] “Age Cymru: Working to keep older people safe and connected ….” 23 Mar. 2020, https://www.bevanfoundation.org/commentary/age-cymru-working-to-keep-older-people-safe-and-connected-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/. Accessed 24 Jul. 2020.

[2] “Cannabis on a black background | Premium Photo – Freepik.” https://www.freepik.com/premium-photo/cannabis-black-background_4586879.htm. Accessed 24 Jul. 2020.

[3] “Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent ….” 1 Jun. 2020, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31142-9/fulltext. Accessed 24 Jul. 2020.

[4] “In Search of Preventative Strategies: Novel Anti … – Preprints.org.” 19 Apr. 2020, https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0315/v1. Accessed 24 Jul. 2020.

[5] “Potential of Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28250664/. Accessed 24 Jul. 2020.

[6] “New Research Suggests Terpenes And CBD Work … – Forbes.” 21 Jul. 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilyearlenbaugh/2020/07/21/new-research-suggests-terpenes-and-cbd-work-3xs-better-for-covid-19-inflammation-than-corticosteroid/. Accessed 25 Jul. 2020.

[7] “Effect of cannabis smoking on lung function and … – NCBI.” 20 Oct. 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5072387/. Accessed 25 Jul. 2020.

[8] “Marijuana and the lung: hysteria or cause for … – Breathe-ERS.” https://breathe.ersjournals.com/content/14/3/196. Accessed 25 Jul. 2020.

This article about Medical Marijuana was published on and updated on July 28, 2020 . Medical facts in this article was checked and article was medically reviewed by our . Author of this checked article is
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