The medical benefits of Marijuana have been well-documented. Among the gains sited by experts, relief of chronic pain, help with losing weight, help with depression, and fighting cancer are some of the most prominent.
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Medicinal marijuana can also help treat depression, regulate and prevent diabetes, alleviate anxiety, slow Alzheimer’s disease development, among many others.
But how about Covid-19? As the world continues to grapple with the pandemic, more and more research is pouring in as to whether cannabis can help with Covid-19. And guess what?
New evidence points to the fact that cannabis may either harm or help Covid-19 patients. Here’s why:
How Medical Cannabis Can Help in Cases of Covid-19 Infections
According to researchers from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Nebraska, terpenes or CBD from cannabis can help treat cytokine storms. As you may know, the dangerous over-elevation of inflammation or cytokines is what has led to many Covid-19 deaths.
Now the researchers first noted this marijuana potential benefit in a Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity peer-reviewed article. If anything, they pointed out that the cannabis-derived chemical, CDB, has the potential to treat severe Covid-19 cases. Take note that cytokines are small proteins found in the body and crucial for controlling the activity of blood cells and immune system cells.
Cytokines also affect the body’s inflammation responses. You see, when an infection attacks your body, cytokines trigger inflammation to increase, which in turn allows chemicals from the body’s white blood cells to enter the tissue or blood and fight off invaders. They do this by necessitating the increase of blood flow to the infected area, which causes warmth and redness.
However, when the body suffers a severe infection, it can trigger a rapid release of too many cytokines in your blood, causing a cytokine storm. And as mentioned earlier, a cytokine storm is quite dangerous as it can cause severe fatigue, high fever, nausea, too much inflammation (swelling and redness), difficulty breathing, as well as organ failure, which is what has caused most Coronavirus deaths.
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Good thing, researchers believe that CBD can end cytokine storms as it has the potential to limit inflammation-causing cytokines.
Even More Evidence?
Mind you, it’s not only the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute who have realized that medical cannabis can suppress cytokine storms. Another peer-reviewed study by researchers from Augusta University in Georgia tested this theory on mice. The result?
They realized that CBD greatly eases acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) as well as cytokine storms- and even reverse part of the harm done to the lungs.
What’s more, a different study performed on cells by Israeli cannabis R&D companies, CannaSoul and Eybna Analytics, realized that CBD and an anti-inflammatory terpenes blend can both significantly reduce cytokines levels, especially the cytokines implicated in many severe cases of Covid-19.
Though this study hasn’t been peer-reviewed, it even suggests that when it comes to suppressing cytokines, both the terpene blend and the CBD perform better than dexamethasone- a drug recently confirmed to be effective at decreasing mortality for Corvid-19 patients on ventilators.
But on the other hand…
Cannabis Can Increase the Risk of Contacting Covid-19
A University of Western Australia study discovered correlations between contacting Covid-19 and using Cannabis. The research simply compared Covid-19 infections in the US with cannabis use rates and realized that using cannabis increases the risks of contracting the disease.
As Albert S Reece, one of the study authors, notes, “Cannabis has joined tobacco as a SARS2-CoV-2 risk factor.” Even so, there are some experts who denounce this school of thought. For instance, Dr Peter Grinspoon, MD, a Harvard Medical School primary care physician and a medical cannabis expert, quips, “the study doesn’t show causation, meaning it’s probably picking up factors causing both cannabis use and Covid-19 to increase.”
So the University of Australia study can’t really confirm if using cannabis increases the chances of contacting Covid-19. All the same, Grinspoon explains that both lines of research may be pointing to the truth – with marijuana impacts Covid-19 patients differently depending on the severity of their infection and how they use cannabis.
As he notes, “Cannabis is still a risk factor, especially with early or mild cases of Covid-19.” It turns out that these Covid-19 phases require much different treatment than that of a severe Covid-19 infection.
The thing is, while cannabis can suppress immune responses (during a cytokine storm), this effect is quite detrimental in the early phases of the infection. Because this is when the body requires its immune system to be at its best.
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Cannabis can help or harm Covid-19 patients. It all depends on when and how you use it. But remember, the World Health Organization (WHO) is yet to approve any vaccine or treatment for Covid-19. Though medical cannabis is showing a lot of promise.
If you need Medical Cannabis for its many benefits, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with an MMJ Doctor. He or she will help you get a Medical Marijuana Card, which offers the highest possible level of convenience when it comes to getting medicinal cannabis.
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