So here we are, a few months after the first COVID-19 case was officially diagnosed, and this disease has pretty much taken over every aspect of our lives. It’s constantly in the news, most of the world is on some level of lockdown, and people are looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.
Although the origin of this particular viral strain has recently come into question, what we do know is that COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, a family of viruses that include other upper respiratory infections like MERS and SARS. Coronaviruses have existed for thousands of years and are common among humans and many animal species. Common symptoms include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
As of now, there is no official course of action for managing COVID-19 patients. Many people are given antivirals, put on respirators, and subjected to other invasive and possibly dangerous treatment methods. Are there any natural alternatives? Could cannabidiol (CBD) be used to treat and possibly prevent COVID-19? That’s exactly what researchers in Israel are working to discover.
The Relationship Between Cannabis and Viruses
Let me start by saying that, just because no documented evidence exists doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. That said, there is no published research on the effects of cannabinoids on viral infections, but quite a bit of anecdotal evidence exists. According to Dr. Shawn Meirovici, a naturopathic doctor from Toronto: “The cannabinoids THC and CBD have been shown to have pain-relieving, sleep-inducing, and anti-inflammatory properties. So, on your sick day when you’re wrapped in a blanket cannabis may help reduce body aches, ease inflammation of the airways, and increase relaxation to help you sleep.”
He also suggested that cannabis may also have “antipyretic or fever-reducing properties, due to its ability to suppress the immune system.” There is one thing to take note of though, and that the fact that some preliminary research suggests CBD, and THC, might actually hinder the immune system’s ability to fight certain infections.
It’s well known that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. However, slightly lesser known is the fact that inflammation is a vital response to infection that isolates affected areas and prevents toxins from spreading throughout the body. Reducing the body’s inflammatory immune response can actually prolong the time that it takes for a pathogen to run its course. The same applies to fevers, they are yet another necessary immune response.
I know this directly contradicts other information regarding CBD and immunity, but this is exactly why more large-scale research is so desperately needed. “The research has been primarily in vitro or in rats; there hasn’t been any studies on humans to date,” added Dr. Meirovici.
Published: April 20, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News