The unconstrained spread of coronavirus and its health implications is forcing medical experts and researchers to explore alternate treatment options for the patients. In their quest of finding a cure, some experts have discovered a rather controversial, but beneficial, course of treatment that not only soothes lethal symptoms of COVID-19, but also enhances patient immunity. To the disappointment of opponents of marijuana descheduling and legalization, cannabis is showing promising results in managing coronavirus symptoms. Recent studies have implied that few cannabis strains can not only fight COVID-19 complications but also improve patient immunity towards the infection.
How can cannabis fight covid-19?
While the world is awaiting vaccine formulation to end the pandemic, the need of advanced treatment methods to help those already affected is higher than ever before.
Out of the 469,000 total number of corona cases in United States, about 32,813 individuals have lost their lives due to complications that occurred during their battle with the infection. This death toll is a representation of the severity that these complications can reach. That being said, it has become extremely crucial to develop a viable solution that would reduce complications in patients and soothe their debilitating symptoms.
In this constant struggle of finding a cure, cannabis, is gaining increasing spotlight in the world of medicine. Here’s how it generally works in the body:
The endocannabinoid system of the body is an important regulatory system that controls functions like appetite, mood, inflammation and pain. This system is composed of cannabinoid receptors that carry out information transfer and modulate physiological responses. Since the chemical structure of cannabinoids found in cannabis plants is very similar to endocannabinoids in the human body, they bind very effectively with these receptors.
This allows different cannabis strains to have a varying degree of impact on human behavior. Since the ECS plays a vital role in managing many other physiological processes, cannabinoids from cannabis can impact them all.
COVID-19 symptom relief through cannabis
Researchers in the University of South Carolina have discovered that a few cannabis strains can help to fight COVID-19 symptoms. They discovered that THC, a compound found in cannabis, can regulate the body’s immune response towards coronavirus.
Their studies found that THC worked by preventing ARDS and its enterotoxin SEB from crippling the coronavirus patient. If not controlled, ARDS can launch a full blown attack on the body and cause organ failure.
On its own, ARDS is a respiratory failure that causes a rapid inflammation of the lungs. Its symptoms include shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and even death in severe cases. For those who survive its attack, their quality of life reduces significantly due to the permanent pulmonary damage it inflicts.
The effectiveness of THC in treating this condition was phenomenal in lab tests on mice. This has prompted researchers to suggest beginning applying the treatment on humans as well. Health care professionals should avoid giving this drug early on however, because THC suppresses the immune system. If treatment is started at a wrong time, symptoms of the infection can actually worsen.
In addition to this, medicinal cannabis should not be considered equal to recreational cannabis. The composition of ingredients in each product category is entirely different. Therefore, without any expert supervision, self medication is highly discouraged.
Cannabis for Cytokine Storm Syndrome and Immunity
In addition to this, terpenes from cannabis have been shown to effectively soothe cytokine storm syndrome. Out of the 5,529.195 corona cases in February of 2020, about 347,192 patients died due to complications of this deadly syndrome.
According to a study, CBD along with terpenes can combat inflammation caused by cytokine storm syndrome. It was seen to work twice as effectively to treat inflammation as corticosteroids like Dexamethasne.
Furthermore, studies have also found cannabis to be effective in blocking the virus from entering the body. According to the findings of Canadian researchers, “Similar to other respiratory pathogens, SARS-CoV2 is transmitted through respiratory droplets, with potential for aerosol and contact spread. It uses receptor-mediated entry into the human host via angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) that is expressed in lung tissue, as well as oral and nasal mucosa, kidney, testes, and the gastrointestinal tract,” reads the study. “Modulation of ACE2 levels in these gateway tissues may prove a plausible strategy for decreasing disease susceptibility.”