Governments and scientists are trying their best to find a cure or vaccine for the Coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic caught the world off guard with almost 16 million confirmed cases of infected.
Medical researchers and pharmaceuticals are trying their best to develop a way to save people and reduce the risk of dying from difficult symptoms. They are also trying to reduce the impact it strikes and prevent further infected with developing a vaccine.
When it comes to treating COVID-19, the symptom severity is the main differential for what kind of treatment the infected will receive. If the infected sustains milder symptoms, his treatment will be held at home while taking medications to reduce the fever.
For the people that experience severe symptoms, they need to be transferred to a hospital. Their treatment consists of supplemental oxygen, assisted ventilation, and other measures if needed. Some pharmaceutical drugs that may have a role to ease severe cases are the corticosteroid dexamethasone and antiviral remdesivir.
When it comes to a vaccine, there is no current one released. The vaccine should give non-infected person antibodies to fight the virus and make its symptoms mild. It takes time to develop a vaccine and many organizations, such as Johns Hopkins, are working hard on it. Many organizations even have done tests on humans on their currently developed vaccine.
Other than vaccines, different pharmaceutical companies and laboratories are trying their best to develop medicine. Many test drugs are awaiting clinical trials to see their impact on COVID-19.
One very unlikely solution for the virus is the cannabis plant.
Cannabis Compounds Against Coronavirus
Active compounds in cannabis have properties that can treat infections that are caused by COVID-19. Scientists are looking at cannabis for its potential to reduce vulnerability to the virus. An additional discussion is if the cannabis can be used as an antiviral medication.
Research into cannabis-derived CBD is encouraged by researchers from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Nebraska. This CBD can treat the hard symptoms of lung inflammation from the virus.
In an article released, the researchers claim that the infection is in direct association with cytokine superstorm. The cytokine superstorm can cause the harsh symptoms of the virus such as coughing, high fever, and muscle pain.
With such severe symptoms, the infected can catch pneumonia, clogging up the lungs which create difficulties breathing. This is why reducing inflammation is the best solution for finding medicine. Drugs that reduce IL-6 cytokine activity are crucial for researchers.
Cannabis contains anti-inflammatory properties, in particular, the CBD compound. Previous studies have shown the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD and have already been approved by the FDA (even safe for children with intractable epilepsy. A safer alternative treatment for COVID-19 is exactly what researchers are aiming for.
Previous research shows how CBD reduces the number of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which includes the IL-6, as well as different interleukins (IL) which are also associated with COVID-19.
It can also reduce interferon-gamma, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1αinterferon gamma, and tumor necrosis factor-α (all associated with COVID-19 severe cases). The production of interferons is also a factor that comes with treating with cannabis. Interferons are proteins that signal the immune cells for activation that later fight against the replication of viruses.
Reducing lung inflammation is also a part of past research done for CBD. Animals that suffered from asthma were treated with CBD which later reduced the production of pro-inflammatory cytokine production. The same research also proved that CBD reduced pulmonary fibrosis which is a condition where the tissue of the lungs becomes damaged which causes breathing to be difficult.
Aside from CBD, the THC compound is also shown to contain anti-inflammatory properties. However, due to the common symptoms of anxiety, disorientation, and increased heart rate, it’s not as potent as CBD. A 1500 mg dosage of CBD in a day can be well-tolerated and save from side-effects. Aside from the other benefits from CBD, it can also reduce the anxiety of the infected.
So far, there are no studies that have been tested on humans that show cannabis or its compounds help with COVID-19. However, many researchers claim that there is evidence that suggests the way it can help.
They also say that further research needs to be conducted before it becomes a way to treat patients. Studies have been started which will show if CBD can reduce the anxiety and inflammation in COVID-19 patients, even serve as an antiviral medication.
Even though this doesn’t mean that cannabis is the cure or treatment for the virus by itself, it does show that it can be a big potential, especially with how severe the virus has spread. More studies need to be done which will lead to the answer to the question: Should cannabis be used to treat COVID-19 patients?