- C.Sativa, a type of cannabis, was found in the study to reduce these cytokines and pathways related to inflammation and fibrosis.
- Active cannabis users actually fared better after contracting COVID-19 than non-users, including lower ICU admission rates and need for ventilation intervention.
- Compounds in cannabis can prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19 by blocking its entry into cells.
Cannabis is known for its therapeutic effects in helping inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Research is constantly being published about the positive impacts it has on patients, and as more states continue to legalize the substance, an increasing number of consumers are turning to cannabis to help relieve their ailments.
With the multiple different healing properties of cannabis, researchers are studying whether it can also help to fight COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 has resulted in millions of deaths, closed international borders, and our economy is still trying to recover from the negative impacts. This contagious respiratory disease can leave you with a fever, feeling fatigued, and struggling to breathe — it can even be fatal. So, can cannabis offer any help in the fight against COVID-19?
Cannabis Extracts Found to Reduce Inflammation
A recent study published this year in the journal Aging has found that cannabis may offer some help for patients with COVID-19. It states that the main aspects of severe COVID-19 disease pathogenesis include hyper-induction of proinflammatory cytokines, also known as ‘cytokine storm,’ that precedes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and often leads to death.
COVID-19 patients often suffer from lung fibrosis, a serious and untreatable condition, and there is no effective treatment for these complications. Out of all cytokines, TNFα and IL-6 play crucial roles in cytokine storm pathogenesis and are likely responsible for the escalation in disease severity. C.Sativa, a type of cannabis, was found in the study to reduce these cytokines and pathways related to inflammation and fibrosis.
Cannabis Use Lowered ICU Admissions
The Aging study is not the only research that has found how cannabis use can help with COVID-19 symptoms. A new study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research indicates that active cannabis users actually fared better after contracting COVID-19 than non-users, including lower ICU admission rates and need for ventilation intervention.
Authored by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, it analyzed 1,831 adult patients admitted to two UCLA hospitals between February 2020 and February 2021. Most significantly, the study found that “ICU admission was 12 percentage points lower (p = 0.018) and intubation rates were 6 percentage points lower (p = 0.017) in cannabis users,” even after adjusting for age, sex, BMI, and tobacco smoking history, according to Leafly.
Cannabis Found to Help Prevent Infection
Yet another piece of research published in January of this year from researchers affiliated with Oregon State University found that compounds in cannabis can prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19 by blocking its entry into cells. The researchers found that two cannabinoid acids commonly found in hemp varieties of cannabis, cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, also known as CBDA, can bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. By binding to the spike protein, the compounds can prevent the virus from entering cells and causing infection, potentially offering new avenues to prevent and treat the disease, according to Forbes.
All of these studies are just breaching the surface of the health benefits that cannabis can offer patients suffering from COVID-19. Aside from preventing the respiratory disease, reducing inflammation, and lowering ICU admissions, here are some of the other symptoms that cannabis could help to relieve:
Chronic pain is one of the top reasons for medical marijuana usage, so it should also be a huge help with painful COVID-19 symptoms such as body aches, headaches, and sore throats.
COVID-19 can cause a lot of unwanted anxiety in patients, especially those who may be experiencing severe symptoms. It can be very stressful and scary, and ultimately take a toll on one’s mental health. Compounds within cannabis have shown impressive anxiety-reducing qualities, particularly CBD.