Cannabis As A Treatment For COVID-19: Everything You Need To Know

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, medical researchers were scrambling to find the best way to treat the viral infection. With numbers rising and deaths beginning to accumulate, the race was on to ensure that as few people as possible experienced the worst possible fate after contracting the infection. With that research came various treatment options, some of which were shown to be viable, with others being deemed unsuitable.

One such treatment option that researchers have looked into is medical cannabis. With the therapeutic effects of cannabis well-studied in recent years, many claims behind cannabis treatment for various health conditions have been validated several times over. But can cannabis be used to help treat COVID-19?

Can cannabis help treat COVID-19?

Considering the sheer number of medical conditions medical cannabis has been proven to help treat symptoms of, it’s only natural that people may be wondering if it can help with COVID-19. Some studies have found that cannabis does in fact play a role in the healing of COVID-19. One study published in January 2021 found that its impact on something called a cytokine storm makes it a possible medicinal tool that can be used to help people with the infection.

A cytokine storm occurs when the immune system goes into hyperdrive to help fight off an infection. While that may seem to be a good thing, it’s actually detrimental to health and can cause worsened cases of COVID-19. When a cytokine storm occurs, the immune cells known as cytokines signal the immune system to fight harder. But it can fight so hard that it is unable to stop itself and ends up attacking healthy cells in the body. The immune cells can begin to affect the liver, cause blood clots to form, and cause the lungs to fill up with fluid. Since COVID-19 affects the lungs, a cytokine storm is not a good outcome for those who have the viral infection.

The aforementioned study looked at cannabis and how it could hinder the development of a cytokine storm, and found that it was able to reduce cytokine pathways that led to an increase in immune action, essentially blocking a cytokine storm from actually occurring. (It should be noted that since COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, smoking cannabis is not recommended, as smoke can contribute to further lung damage.)

man wearing mask experiencing pain
Image by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash: CBD and COVID recovery may go hand-in-hand for the long-COVID symptom of chronic pain.

CBD and long COVID

Now that the virus has been around for a while, researchers are realizing that it can leave lasting effects. A condition known as “long COVID” is being used to describe the long-term health effects that can occur after a person has contracted and recovered from the initial infection.

Symptoms associated with long COVID include:

  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities
  • Brain fog
  • Coughing
  • Chronic pain in the chest, stomach, joints, muscles, or head
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pins and needles in the extremities
  • Mood changes
  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Changes in smell or taste
  • Menstrual cycle disruptions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these symptoms can last for months following the initial infection.

While not all of these symptoms can be mitigated by CBD, research has shown that some can be helped. Chronic pain, for example, has been shown to be greatly reduced by the intake of CBD because of the way it affects serotonin, the chemical associated with happiness, joy, and feelings of wellbeing. Serotonin also plays a role in pain signaling.

cbd oil in dropper
Image by CRYSTALWEED Cannabis on Unsplash: What is the CBD dosage for COVID? Further research should give us more insight.

CBD has also shown to be effective at helping:

Because of the effects that cannabis has on things like chronic pain, sleep, and mood disorders, CBD could be a viable option in the management of the symptoms of long COVID. It can also be helpful in the recovery of COVID-19 by helping to lessen the severity of some of the symptoms. While more research is needed in this area, the studies produced so far show promising results when it comes to the use of cannabis and cannabinoid products to help treat and manage COVID-19 and the resulting health effects it can have on people.

Featured image by Jeff W on Unsplash

Can Cannabis Help Treat Symptoms Of COVID-19?

With many places still suffering through waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are contracting the virus and falling ill. The pandemic has claimed millions of lives, but for many who have caught COVID-19, symptoms of the viral infection have been less severe. For some of the lucky ones, symptoms have even been mild, able to be dealt with using at-home remedies.

Considering the potential grave consequences of the virus and the uncertainty as to how it will affect any given person, it can be anxiety-inducing to think about. However, being prepared if you do happen to come down with the illness can help you get through it.

What are some of the things you should do if you get sick with COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released guidelines on what a person should do if they get sick with COVID-19, and the first item on the list is to stay home. This is because the virus is highly contagious, and if you are sick, you don’t want to be spreading it to others. Even if your symptoms are mild, you can still pass it on to someone who may not be as lucky.

They CDC also suggests lots of rest and fluids. Since viruses are unable to be cured using antibiotics, it can be hard to get a medication that will fight the infection for you. It is typically up to your immune system. This is why making sure your immune system is ready for the fight is the best thing you can do, and that includes drinking lots of clear liquids, resting as much as possible, and eating as healthily as you can.

If you develop more serious symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away to determine whether you need to go to the hospital for care. 

medical marijuana plants outdoors
Image by Joel Muniz on Unsplash: Can cannabis help reduce the symptoms of a mild COVID-19 infection?

What medication can I take to reduce the symptoms of the coronavirus disease?

To reduce the symptoms of COVID-19, there are many over-the-counter medications available to you. For example, if one of your symptoms is a cough, you can take a cough suppressant and have cough lozenges handy to help cope with that symptom. Other over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen can help combat fever and pain associated with the infection. 

How to treat COVID-19 at home if you have mild symptoms

Treatment for COVID-19 at home is focused solely on managing symptoms. This is because the immune system needs to fight off the viral infection. To manage the symptoms at home, start by getting lots of rest. Sleep and immune function are closely linked, so ensuring that you’re getting enough quality sleep while you are ill will help your body fight off the illness. Pain relievers and fever reducers can also help to lessen symptoms; however, even if you take over-the-counter medications and start to feel better, it’s important that you continue to rest and isolate at home.

Adequate fluid intake is also important. Drinking clear fluids such as water or broths is best. Staying hydrated is vital to how well the body fights off the virus, because dehydration can worsen the function of the immune system.

medical marijuana infused tea
Image by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash: CBD may be a viable option when it comes to helping the body fight off a mild COVID-19 infection.

Cannabis and COVID-19

Although cannabis will not treat or cure COVID-19, some research has suggested that the use of cannabis can help to mitigate specific symptoms and help people cope with the infection. CBD, in particular, has been looked at as a possible option to help reduce the risk of the body developing a cytokine storm, a process that occurs when an overabundance of cytokines triggers an immune response where the body starts to attack itself and not the virus.

Other research has also looked into cannabis as a possible option to help reduce lung inflammation that could be caused by the virus, thus helping with lung function while battling the infection. Since cannabis has also been shown to help reduce pain and anxiety, it’s assumed that using cannabis while sick with COVID-19 may lead to a reduction in both those symptoms for those coping with the illness.

A final caveat that should be noted: smoking or vaping cannabis is not recommended for those who are ill with coronavirus. This is because both smoking and vaping have been shown to have negative effects on lung function, and by utilizing this method, you could end up doing more harm than good for your lungs while they try to recover. Using oils, nasal sprays, or topical applications is the best way to dose with cannabis when trying to deal with the symptoms of COVID-19. 

Featured image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Could Cannabis Help Treat Coronavirus?

The coronavirus pandemic has hit populations hard all over the world. An alarmingly high number of deaths in many countries has led to researchers scrambling to find an effective treatment or cure for the disease.

One recent study conducted in Canada looked at whether marijuana might be an option for coronavirus treatment. So, could cannabis help treat coronavirus (COVID-19)? Read on for more information about this important study.

What’s the connection between cannabis and coronavirus?

The Canadian study examined the connection between hemp extracts high in CBD and whether they could help block proteins that allow COVID-19 to enter host cells. Their findings indicated that cannabis has the potential to reduce the virus’ entry points by up to 70%.

The researchers suggested looking at it this way: if a cell is like a building with many doors, the virus (untreated) is able to enter through so many of those doors. However, if some of those doors are blocked, the virus is less likely to be able to get through and attack the cell. This means cannabis just might offer some insight into how researchers can develop strategies for decreasing a person’s susceptibility to the disease.

There’s even the possibility that individuals who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19 might be able to use marijuana as an adjunct therapy to help them fight the virus. Thinking broadly, the study even offered that cannabis, in the future, could be used in some types of preventative treatments (such as in the form of mouthwash or throat gargle products so that the virus is even less likely to enter through the mouth).

Should you be rushing out to buy more cannabis?

It’s not a great idea to rely on marijuana for the purpose of coronavirus treatment just yet. A lot more research needs to be done on this therapy, including peer reviews and larger clinical trials, in order to get a full picture.

The Canadian study also indicates that not just any cannabis would help with COVID-19. Researchers determined that with more than 800 varieties of sativa on the market, only a few were actually useful in treating coronavirus. Additionally, the forms they studied were high in anti-inflammatory CBD but low in THC (which is what provides the patient with the cannabis high).

Basically, it won’t really do you any good to implement your own marijuana regimen as a means of preventing or treating COVID-19 at this time.

 

MMJRecs - covid-19 mask

Image by Julian Wan on Unsplash: You don’t need to rush to buy more marijuana – more studies need to be done about cannabis and coronavirus before anything is set in stone.

What about medical marijuana and coronavirus?

If you’re someone who already uses medical marijuana (MMJ) to treat a physical or emotional medical condition, you’re probably wondering, “Could MMJ help treat coronavirus?” The same information listed above applies – it’s just too soon to tell exactly how ingesting MMJ products could work to fight off the virus.

So, does cannabis help treat coronavirus symptoms? The study strongly suggests it might, but there’s not enough information to know exactly how you should take your MMJ products in order to avoid or treat the virus.

Should you keep using your MMJ products?

At this point, it should be fine for you to continue to use MMJ products to help with whatever symptoms you’re experiencing from other conditions. However, it’s crucial to note that some medical professionals think it could be dangerous to smoke or vape marijuana at this point.

Ingesting the product this way means your lungs could get irritated – which makes you much more susceptible to catching COVID-19 (and more likely to suffer from severe and/or dangerous symptoms). Consider using other forms such as tinctures, edibles, etc. that won’t cause any damage to your lungs, but will still allow you to get the benefits of cannabis that you need.

 

MMJRecs - MMJ products

Image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash: You can keep using your MMJ products during the coronavirus.

How can you get an MMJ card?

If you don’t currently have an MMJ card, you can still apply for one during the coronavirus lockdown. That way you can treat whatever medical condition you already have while still getting any possible benefits that might help fight off COVID-19 (even if it’s a long shot).

If your state permits MMJ cards, you can apply for one by going through the government agency that handles the state’s MMJ program. The agency can also help guide you through the application process, which typically consists of a consultation with a physician who can verify that your symptoms would be alleviated through the use of medical marijuana.

At this point, researchers are working around the clock to find a treatment, vaccine, or cure for COVID-19 in an effort to slow or stop the spread of the disease. Because of this urgency, it’s likely that a lot more studies will be done to see how helpful cannabis might be in the coronavirus pandemic.

It doesn’t hurt you to continue to use your MMJ products as directed by your doctor. And in the meantime, it’s best to wait until more definitive research has been done on cannabis and coronavirus before you take it for any other treatment purposes.

Featured image by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash