Despite its hazy reputation, cannabis has long been used as a herbal plant (or supplement) thanks to its profound benefits. There’s a lot of talk about potential health benefits of cannabis during the Covid pandemic. Some people wonder if cannabis could help them stay healthy or recover from the virus.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, or coronavirus, there has been a lot of discussion about the potential benefits and risks of using cannabis for medicinal purposes. Some people claim that cannabis can help protect against the virus, while others are worried that it could worsen things.
So what is the truth? Is cannabis a helpful tool against Covid-19, or should it be avoided altogether? Here we will look at the research on this topic and try to answer some of these questions.
Cannabis and Covid: What the research says
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking for any possible solution to help them fight the disease. Scientists from the world’s leading research institutions are now discovering the unique ways cannabis can help curb (or even solve) the ever-growing pandemic.
Cannabis has been long shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, making it a promising candidate for helping to treat COVID-19. Harnessing certain cannabinoids’ antiviral properties, researchers have shown that they can be used as small molecule therapeutic agents against SARS-CoV-2 and its emerging variants.
CBGA and CBDA prevents SARS-CoV-2 from penetrating healthy cells
In a study published in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers discovered that certain cannabinoids could block the virus responsible for Covid from entering healthy human cells. The cannabinoids in question – namely, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) show promising potential in combating SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.
No human participants were tested on the study. Instead, researchers from the Oregon State University employed a laboratory method involving human cells. The study placed an approximate amount of CBD (more or less equal to oral use) into a test tube containing the virus specimen.
Results show that CBGA and CBDA prevented the virus from entering these cells by binding to spike proteins on the virus’ surface. These cannabinoids block cellular entry, thus drastically minimizing the person acquiring the coronavirus disease.
For an infection to occur, the virus must produce spike proteins as a means to cellular entry. A spike protein is an outward projection that facilitates viral entry by interacting directly with cell-surface receptors found on the human cell.
“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” said Richard van Breemen, one of the researchers involved in the study. Breemen is part of Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, a research hub connecting the world’s leading hemp researchers.
“They have the potential to prevent and treat infection by SARS-CoV-2,” he added.
Though the study shows some promise, it’s still too early to classify cannabis or hemp as an alternative treatment for Covid-19. Researchers agree that these results still warrant further investigation before moving to the clinical trial phase. As such, there’s still a long way to go before weed can be marketed and distributed as a COVID-19 cure.
Another limitation to note is the scope in which the cannabinoids in the study were tested. Only the alpha and beta variants of SARS-CoV-2 were tested. However, the peer-reviewed research insists that these cannabinoids show potential in preventing the entry of “emerging variants” as well.
CBD can help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the human body
In another research led by Marsha Rosner of the University of Chicago, cannabis compounds were shown to affect the production of viral particles. The study showed that while CBD did not prevent SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells, it blocked it from making copies of itself.
This immune response acts rather quickly, disarming itself as soon as the cultured cells are infected. Rosner was designed in a laboratory setting, but similar results were also found in animal models.
Rosner also found that among epilepsy patients who used CBD drugs, Covid-19 rates were generally lower. However, the researchers highlight that this finding does not come from a representative sample given its small sample size. A sound conclusion cannot be made for the general population.
Another thing to note is that THC – the psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant – can interfere with the antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity of CBD. Even at small doses, THC antagonizes the following cannabinoids: CBDA, CBDV, CBC, and CBG.
“Not only did THC not work but combining it with CBD prevented CBD from working,” said Rosner.
Potential benefits of cannabis use that could help against Covid-19
Based on the current data, cannabis can not be used as a sole treatment for Covid-19. This does not mean it cannot help alleviate the symptoms typically associated with the virus.
Cannabinoid acids still offer some pretty impressive benefits. These benefits include boosting the immune system, improving mental health, alleviating pain, and more. By leveraging the therapeutic qualities of cannabis, one can choose to augment their current Covid recovery plan.
Another great thing about using cannabis for Covid is that it’s pretty easy to use (or take). With so many weed products on the market today, gone are the days when smoking weed used to be the only way to get one’s daily dose. From dietary supplement pills to oils and tinctures, marijuana may be found in various forms.
Cannabis can help soothe fever symptoms and shortness of breath.
Both anecdotal and scientific evidence suggests that cannabis has some redeeming qualities when treating fever, coughing fits, and even shortness of breath. This quality of marijuana lies in its ability to help the body fight off infections. That said, smoking marijuana isn’t the best delivery method when using weed to ward off a coughing fit. Go for a smokeless option to prevent further irritating your lungs.
Cannabis counters nausea and appetite loss
It has been shown that cannabis can help with nausea and vomiting. This is helpful because it can be hard to eat or drink anything when you are sick. It’s essential to stay hydrated and nourished when dealing with the flu, but that can be hard to do if you feel nauseous.
Aside from the usual fever, losing one’s taste is a telltale sign that someone’s been afflicted with a Covid-19 infection. This can severely hinder treatment if the patient refuses to eat. Luckily, cannabis can help with this issue as well. Patients have reported an increase in appetite after using cannabis products, which is a huge win if you try to keep your weight up while sick.
Cannabis may help improve mental health symptoms.
Mental health symptoms are common during and after any virus infection. Cannabis has been found to help with mental health issues ranging from anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both CBD and THC can help calm one’s senses and put off some of the emotional turmoil of being afflicted with an illness.
Another commonly overlooked effect of the coronavirus is the mental health repercussions on Covid-19 patients. Studies show that depression and anxiety become more pronounced among those with the disease. Two compounds in weed – CBD and THC – help address these issues with constant, regulated use.
Cannabis helps alleviate pain and inflammation.
Cannabis’ ability to relieve pain is one of the most frequently stated advantages… This therapeutic quality of weed is particularly useful when dealing with a fever or other infection-related pain. Cannabis can also help reduce inflammation, another common symptom of Covid-19.
Cannabis can help with chronic pain, as proved in various studies published in the National Library of Medicine. One study found that patients given a daily dose of THC and CBD experienced less pain than those who didn’t receive any treatment at all, on average a 30% reduction in their pain levels.
The disadvantage of using cannabis for Covid-19 is that it may make you tired and sluggish. This may not be the best way to get through your day, but it could help alleviate some of those symptoms if you are sick.
Cannabis helps with sleep issues.
Sleep problems are a common symptom of Covid-19, especially among children who have the disease. Getting a good night’s sleep can suddenly become a chore when you’re constantly dealing with body aches, fevers, and other common symptoms of the coronavirus infection.
A recent study showed that CBD could help improve sleep quality in children with Covid-19 symptoms – but only if given an oral dose during the daytime hours. It is essential to keep in mind that this was just a small study and more research needs to be completed on how CBD affects sleep before anyone can say definitively if it helps or not.
Cannabis may help fight off infection.
One of the most promising benefits of cannabis is its infection-fighting qualities. A study published in the Journal of Cellular Immunology found that CBD has antibacterial and antiviral properties, which could help protect against Covid-19.
The researchers concluded that “CBD possesses potent anti-inflammatory effects which may be useful as an adjuvant therapy for COVID-19 infection.”
This is awesome news because it means that cannabis could potentially be used as an alternative treatment option for people dealing with Covid-19 symptoms and who don’t want to take prescription medications.
Cannabis may help boost your immune system.
A study published in the Journal of Molecular Medicine found that CBD has immunosuppressive effects, which means it helps suppress an overactive immune system. This could be beneficial for people who have weakened immune systems due to pre-existing health conditions like cancer or even HIV/AIDS.
There’re still a lot of unknowns about cannabis and its potential benefits, but researchers are hopeful that more studies will be done so we can learn more!
How does cannabis work?
The mechanism behind cannabis’ pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties involves a group of bodily receptors known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors may be found in nearly every part of the body, including the brain, nervous system, and immune cells.
Cannabis compounds can directly bind to these receptors or indirectly influence their activity. They produce a myriad of effects ranging from pain relief to improved serotonin uptake when they do. The ECS plays a major and central role in the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
CB receptors play a significant role in regulating pain, inflammation, immune function, sleep, mood, and appetite. Though many cannabinoid receptors are involved, two receptors play a central role in cannabis uptake: CB-I and CB-II.
CB-I can be found within the central nervous system (i.e., the brain), whereas CB-II is localized within (or on the surface of) immune cells. Activation of either receptor can produce anti-inflammatory and pain killing effects. For example, CB-I activation inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory molecules like cytokines and chemokines, which are produced by white blood cells and contribute to inflammation.
Activation of CB-I receptors also inhibits the production of pain signals at their source. Cannabis compounds that activate CB-I and CB-II are often used for chronic pain and inflammation, two key components of COVID-19 symptoms.
Cannabis should not be used as a sole treatment for Covid-19, but it can be an effective way to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the virus. By leveraging the therapeutic qualities of cannabis, one can help improve the quality of life while hopefully hastening the recovery process.
Risks associated with using cannabis for Covid-19
Though weed’s generally a safe medication/drug to use, consuming it for Covid-19 in different ways comes not without any risk factors. Cannabis has not been tested in clinical trials yet for its ability to fight the virus, so it’s not known if it is effective. Use at your discretion.
Cannabis can impair cognitive function and judgment. Those who are not used to weed products in the first place will find it difficult to adjust to the effects of both THC and CBD. If you do not feel comfortable with the idea, it’s best to avoid using cannabis until you feel better.
Additionally, cannabis can have side effects such as heightened anxiety, heart palpitations, and even sudden anxiety attacks. These side effects, though not life-threatening, can worsen your symptoms. If you’re still on edge, do not hesitate to approach a healthcare provider or professional before committing to cannabis for Covid-19.
It’s also important to keep in mind that cannabis can interact with other medications, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re considering using it. Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid using cannabis or weed products altogether since there’s not much research on how cannabinoids affect the development of a growing child.
Though more research is needed, cannabis has proven to have some potential for treating or alleviating the symptoms of the coronavirus. By understanding how it works and the risks associated with its use, one can decide whether this is a viable option for them. Stay safe and healthy!
Not a treatment, nor a cure
One should note that cannabis is not a good-for-all treatment and cure for coronavirus infection. Though weed and weed products can certainly help one feel better, we strongly recommend against using them as a strict replacement for the kind of medical care you get from healthcare professionals. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabis products of any kind.
If you’re considering including cannabis in your Covid treatment plan, it’s best to keep your physician or doctor informed. This way, they can help monitor your medications and ensure there aren’t any adverse effects for you or other patients.
How to take cannabis for Covid?
Given that there are so many ways to take weed, you may need to experiment a bit before finding a delivery method that works for you. Cannabis is not one-size-fits-all, so what works for someone else might not work as well for you. Always remember this when you’re trying out newer cannabis strains or products.
Do not smoke, vape, or consume edible products from raw cannabis flowers (bud). These methods of use expose the lungs to irritating and potentially harmful chemicals. Those with chronic (and potentially life-threatening) lung conditions like COPD or asthma should avoid smoking and vaping cannabis altogether.
Try using an oil, tincture, or capsule instead. These products are made with cannabis extractions that have been diluted in a carrier oil or alcohol. This makes them safer to use and less likely to cause adverse reactions to the product. Check out our selection of tinctures.
You can also try topicals like lotions, balms, and patches. These products are applied to the skin and absorbed through the pores. They can be helpful for people with muscle or joint pain, inflammation, or other conditions. Check out our selection of topicals.
Cannabis-infused foods may also be a good option. These products are made with cannabis extractions that have been infused into a food product like butter, oil, or honey. They are safe to eat and can be a great way to get the benefits of cannabis without having to smoke or vape it.
Keep in mind that the potency of these products can vary, so start with a small amount and increase as needed. It’s also important to read the label for instructions on how much of each serving size is safe to consume at once.
Cannabis and Covid – Is Cannabis Helpful?: Final Thoughts
So far, the research on cannabis and Covid-19 is limited. However, what we do know suggests that there may be some potential benefits to using cannabis during this pandemic. Current data show that cannabinoid compounds seem to work by preventing the entry of the virus into healthy cells.
It’s important to remember that there are risks associated with using cannabis, especially if you are not familiar with how it works. Before starting any treatment plan, you should first consult with a healthcare professional.
Here are some things to bear in mind if you want to try cannabis for Covid-19. First, make sure you get high-quality products from a reputable source. Always make sure you’re getting the real deal.
Second, start with small doses and increase gradually as needed. Finally, stay hydrated when using cannabis and avoid smoking if possible. By following these steps, you’ll minimize your exposure to the risks.
More research needs to be done on the use of cannabis for COVID-19, but the early evidence suggests that it could be a promising treatment option. We will continue to update our readers as more information becomes available. Thank you for reading!