It’s the cannabis news we’ve been waiting for… Cannabis Cures COVID!
Okay, okay, so, it might not be as simple as that. But with so much buzz, it’s hard not to get excited about the potential effects of cannabis on COVID-19.
A recent study from the Journal of Natural Products on marijuana and COVID found that two common cannabis compounds can prevent the virus that causes COVID from penetrating healthy human cells.
The news out of Oregon has sent shockwaves through the cannabis community. Can cannabis really stop COVID in its tracks? Have we been living in fear the entire time when all we had to do was eat a few more CBD gummies?
Whether or not it’s entirely true, it’s exciting nonetheless. Any news about the fight against COVID-19 can make anyone’s ears perk up, especially for the cannabis aficionado among us.
And, rightly so. Cannabis doesn’t always get the best treatment in the media. But with so many attention-grabbing headlines recently, how do trust what’s real and what’s not?
Here’s what you need to understand about the study, and why it’s still a reason to celebrate.
Who Conducted the Study?
The study was conducted by researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (Go Beavers!) and the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Oregon Health and Science University.
The paper was submitted to the Journal of Natural Products, a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal covering all aspects of research on the chemistry and biochemistry of naturally occurring compounds.
It is published in conjunction with the American Society of Pharmacognosy. As well as the American Chemical Society.
In other words, it’s legit.
What Did the Study Find?
Researchers used a screening tool to search for chemical compounds with certain unique features that have the potential to become effective drugs to treat or prevent a COVID-19 infection.
They discovered two: cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
With the right molecular makeup, researchers suggest that these two cannabis compounds can prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from penetrating healthy human cells. They can do this by blocking the spike proteins and thereby denying the virus entry into the cells.
“That means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells,” according to lead researcher Richard van Breeman in an interview for KVAL-TV.
Van Breeman and his team then tested the compounds in human cells in a petri dish. In the cell models, both the CBGA and CBDA compounds appeared to impede the spike proteins’ ability to bind to human cells.
Similar to the way as monoclonal antibodies, a treatment for COVID-19 infections.
CBD and COVID: Can It Really Help?
At this point, it’s hard to tell. While the petri dish study is interesting. More testing is most likely needed.
Despite the encouraging results, we also have to remember these tests are yet to be performed on humans, let alone animals, in a clinical trial.
Oversimplified media posts have led many to believe that smoking cannabis will help in the prevention of COVID-19. However, researchers suggest this is not the case.
The compounds used in the Oregon study – CBGA and CBDA – are not compounds you ingest when smoking cannabis because they are transformed as soon as heat is applied. The same applies to edible gummies.
Raw cannabis has a large quantity of CBDA. But, CBDA undergoes a transformation when cannabis is processed. When the plant is heated, acidic compounds break down into new chemicals.
This process ends up producing big amounts of CBD derived from CBDA.
But, don’t let this discourage you from using cannabis. More research is needed for its effect on COVID-19. But, CBD and THC offer a variety of health benefits that may reduce several ailments.
How Else Could Cannabis Treat COVID-19?
Cannabis has shown strong potential in reducing scarring and inflammation in people with COVID-19. But is there anything else cannabis can do?
CBD and THC are the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis products. While CBD is less-potent than THC, both have shown promise in treating pain and anxiety.
Research into how compounds like CBD and THC can help patients with COVID-19 has not yet been thoroughly investigated. However, they offer new and exciting opportunities for future research.
In the meantime, let’s see how CBD and THC might help severe symptoms of COVID-19.
CBD and THC activate different cannabinoid receptors in your body. They work to stimulate or inhibit brain chemicals causing certain effects.
CBD reduces inflammation by stimulating activity in the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. THC is responsible for that “high” that people get from marijuana which may play a role in pain relief.
But, is THC or CBD better for pain relief?
Unfortunately, there appears no definitive answer. Some suggest taking a combination of both. Take CBD for its anti-inflammatory properties and THC for its ability to reduce the sensation of pain.
Anxiety and Depression
Research around CBD is limited. Still, taking CBD appears beneficial for those dealing with:
- Cognitive impairment
Researchers believe that CBD’s anti-anxiety effects work by altering your brain’s serotonin levels.
For some users, CBD is more effective than antidepressant medication. It also appears to have fewer side effects.
Unlike antidepressants which can come with insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and mood swings. On the other hand, there is no research to suggest CBD comes with similar side effects.
Part of its popularity stems from the fact that it’s “nonpsychoactive” unlike THC. This means consumers can enjoy the medical benefits of the natural plant without the high.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful period for the entire world. For sufferers of the disease, it is a potentially traumatic event.
Given the severity of the symptoms and how much we don’t know about its long-term impact, PTSD is a real possibility.
In fact, we know COVID-19 has led to PTSD. This is especially true for patients who have experienced the full effect of the virus.
CBD may help to reduce and manage symptoms of PTSD in both topical and edible forms. Alongside regular counseling, CBD can be an effective treatment.
Some research suggests that taking CBD after a traumatic event might make it difficult for the brain to remember and form memories. Memories that can eventually lead to PTSD.
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Insomnia or “coronoasomnia” is perhaps a lesser-known side effect of COVID-19.
More often than not, stress is the main trigger for insomnia. With stress levels rising for much of the past three years, it’s no surprise we can’t sleep.
Early research into CBD has shown promise as an effective sleep aid. That’s because there is evidence to suggest CBD may help control cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is elevated at night in people with insomnia.
Reducing an individual’s cortisol levels at night can encourage a better night’s sleep.
Other Potential Benefits
Though more research is needed, CBD is also thought to provide the following benefits:
- Antipsychotic effects
- Substance abuse treatment
- Heart health
- May alleviate certain cancer-related symptoms
- It may have neuroprotective properties
- May extend the life of those with glioblastoma
- Chronic pain conditions
- Treat select epilepsy syndromes
- Alleviate ALS symptoms
- Ease diabetic complications
As you can see, CBD may offer several benefits to people suffering from a wide range of health-related problems. Research is still ongoing and there is still so much to learn. But, with each breakthrough, we come one step closer to unlocking the natural power of marijuana.
Please note the health benefits related to the use of CBD are only effective combined with THC, not CBD or THC on their own.
If you’re a Pennsylvania resident interested in trying medical marijuana to manage a health condition, contact Medical Marijuana Specialists. We can help you obtain a medical marijuana card to reap the benefits of the growing industry.
Marijuana and Covid FAQs
We’re here to help you throughout your medical marijuana journey. The Frequently Asked Questions below are intended to help you with most of your burning queries. If you can’t find the answer to your question, feel free to contact us, or check out our education and useful information section on our website.
Can Cannabis or CBD Prevent or Cure COVID-19?
Currently, no. However, CBD is a cannabinoid compound that could help to reduce symptoms of COVID-19. Treating COVID-19 with CBD is still under investigation but research is making great strides.
Watch this space!
Does Medical Cannabis Make COVID-19 Worse?
Cannabis smoking and vaping during a COVID-19 infection may worsen respiratory symptoms. However, oils, gummies, sprays, and lotions appear to have no harmful effect on COVID-19 infections. As always, talk with your doctor about using medical cannabis.
Is It Safe to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine if I Use Medical Marijuana?
Short answer, yes. People who use marijuana are still able to receive the vaccine. It is safe and will not cause you any harm.
Does Cannabis or CBD Affect the Effectiveness of the COVID-19 Vaccine?
There aren’t any studies on the effect of cannabis and COVID vaccinations. But, it appears unlikely that CBD affects the vaccine’s overall effectiveness.
What’s the Best Way to Take Cannabis for COVID-19?
Topicals, edibles, and tinctures may assist in easing the symptoms associated with COVID-19. You might want to avoid smoking or vaping to prevent further damage to your lungs and throat.
How Much Should I Take To Lessen the Severity of COVID-19 Infection?
Dosing ranges can vary from person to person. You should discuss dosages with your doctor or health care professional.
Do I Still Have to Wear a Mask if I Take CBD for COVID-19?
Yes. It’s important to take appropriate precautions in order to reduce the spread of the virus.
How Do I Get My Medical Marijuana License?
You will need documents from your physician, specialist, chiropractor, or therapist stating your condition. You should be able to access this information online or by asking at the time of your visit.
What Do I Do Now That I Have Received My Card?
For starters, congratulations! You can now visit any dispensary in PA, speak to a pharmacist and talk about which products are best for you.
Cannabis and COVID: A Match Made in Heaven? Maybe.
Marijuana and COVID might not be the next power couple, but that doesn’t mean we should write them off just yet. CBD isn’t a miracle cure yet, but it does have the potential to slow or stop the spread completely.
The Oregon study will hopefully lead to further studies of the potential for cannabinoids to prevent the spread of COVID at the cellular level. In the fight against COVID, every breakthrough – big or small – counts.
It gives us hope that someday we will find a way out of this pandemic. It might not be today or tomorrow, but trust that the more we know, the better our chances of success are.
In the meantime, vaccinations and boosters continue to be the best defense against illness, hospitalization, and death. If you have COVID-19, always follow your doctor’s advice on managing the disease.
Curious to know more about the benefits of medical marijuana? Medical Marijuana Specialists are here to serve all Pennsylvania residents. We offer same-day certification and renewals five days a week.
Ready to find out more? Contact us today.