You’ve probably been hearing a lot of news reports over the past few months that cannabis might help treat COVID-19 in some way. And it’s true, researchers have begun exploring how cannabis—specifically anti-inflammatory, non-intoxicating, cannabis-derived CBD (not THC)—may be able to treat the severe lung inflammation that can be caused by the deadly coronavirus. But first things first: cannabis is definitely not a potential ‘cure’ for those with COVID-19, nor is it a way to avoid getting the virus. And it’s also not a brazenly heralded fix-all—like hydroxychloroquine—that some people would have you believe. More likely, according to research, cannabis could possibly help treat lung damage resulting from COVID-19, which could help patients restore healthier oxygen levels and potentially even reduce or eliminate a patient’s need to be put on a ventilator.
,” the main cause of death from COVID and other respiratory viruses.
As documented in an article from Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, researchers gave mice an innovative simulation of the virus, then monitored their lung functions before, during, and after being treated with CBD. “Oxygen levels went up, while temperatures and cytokine levels went down with CBD therapy,” pointing to early evidence that “CBD could help patients showing signs of respiratory distress avoid extreme interventions like mechanical ventilation as well as death.”
In July, researchers at the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute underscored the need for further research on CBD as a coronavirus treatment, in a peer-reviewed article in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity which explored how cannabis-derived CBD might be a safer alternative (with far less side effects) to other medications targeting inflammation. One such drug is Tocilizumab, which can reduce IL-6 cytokine activity and effectively clears the lungs so effectively, patients had a 90% recovery rate, per an April 2020 study. But already-fragile, critically ill patients might not be able to handle the drug’s significant side effects—like inflammation of the pancreas and hypertriglyceridemia—which can lead to coronary artery disease.
anti-inflammatory and other effects, specifically in COVID-19 patients with severe disease, to determine the appropriate form of delivery, such as oral or nasal, and dosage that is optimum for its therapeutic effect,” Posima says.