Why Experts are Looking Into Marijuana and Cannabinoids as An Anti-COVID-19 Solution
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase and a new strain is threatening to make things worse for all of us, scientists and researchers are now looking at other alternatives to help treat and mitigate the disease’s effects, including the cannabis plant.
Cannabis has active compounds that possess certain properties that make them appealing as a form of defensive measure against the deadly virus.
Scientists have spent the last few months looking into the plant’s potency to act as something that can reduce one’s susceptibility to the disease and perhaps be an antiviral medication.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is part of the body’s molecular system that helps regulate and balance the different processes that take place in our bodies, including how our immune system responds.
Through this system, cannabinoids and other legitimate CBD products interact with the body which then triggers certain beneficial reactions and effects.
Despite the huge importance of the ECS on the human body, it is found that it is only in recent years, less than 30 years ago, that scientists and the medical community began to have a greater understanding of it
The Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids on the Immune System
Since the ECS plays a vital role in the way our immune system responds against threats, scientists have studied it closely and looked at how it works. It is discovered to be the most vital physiologic system that helps establish and maintain our health. The endocannabinoids are lipid-based neurotransmitters that attach and bind well to cannabinoid receptors. Along with cannabinoid receptor proteins found throughout the human body, it becomes the ECS that brings balance to our physiology and affects almost every physiological process that takes place in our bodies.
Numerous in vivo and in vitro studies have shown how CBD has certain anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. And as the number of COVID cases across the country continues to increase, more and more researchers and scientists are considering turning to cannabis and its compounds as a potential treatment for the disease.
At the time of writing, there is no scientific evidence that shows the plant’s potency against COVID-19 but a peer-reviewed Brain, Behavior, and Immunity article states that more time for research should be dedicated to see and understand if CBD can be of help to patients who have been infected by the virus.
In some severe COVID-19 cases, the body’s immune system releases an overwhelmingly large amount of cytokines creating what experts call a cytokine storm. Normally, cytokines fight off infections by creating inflammation. However, these severe cases with cytokine storms lead to high fevers, severe nausea and fatigue, inflammation, and in some cases, organ failure that leads to death.
CBD is known as an IL-6 cytokine inhibitor. This simply means that it helps regulate and lessen the body’s production of cytokines. Researchers started looking at cannabis, CBD in particular, because of its anti-inflammatory properties and have very few side effects.
The Implications of the Research
Given cannabis and CBD’s healing and anxiety-reducing properties, researchers and experts are still taking caution in recommending and applying it as a treatment for the dreaded disease. Scientists are still in the early stages of research with some of them giving out warnings that the use of the drug during the early stages of infection can cause more harm than good.
Another reason why scientists and medical experts are cautious about using the wonder drug is that cytokines are an important part of fighting off infections. They don’t want it subdued to the point of inefficacy.
So the research goes on until a definitive answer is found. Until then, while scientists and experts are still conducting their studies about the possibility of using cannabis and CBD in the fight against COVID-19, they are asking the public to continue to observe proper COVID-19 protocols and regulations set by the government. Until we get a proven potent solution to the virus, extreme caution should be exercised by everyone to protect each other’s health and public safety.