By / January 11, 2024

COVID-19 and Cannabis: Potential for Prevention and Reduction of Severity

In recent research conducted at Dalhousie University in Canada, scientists have studied the potential of cannabis and its compounds in mitigating the susceptibility and severity of COVID-19 infections.

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Exploring the Preventative Properties of Cannabinoids

The comprehensive COVID-19 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, explores the preventive therapeutic properties of cannabinoids and their impact on the early and post-infection stages of the virus.

According to the study from Dalhousie University, cannabinoids have demonstrated their ability to prevent virus entry, mitigate oxidative stress, and reduce the cytokine storm associated with early COVID-19 infections. As indicated by the Journal of Clinical Medicine, “cannabinoids have the potential to be used as a preventive approach to limit susceptibility and severity of COVID-19 infections,” acting on multiple fronts to strengthen the body’s defense mechanisms.

Long-Term COVID-19 Treatment

Beyond the acute phase of infection, cannabinoids are also promising in treating symptoms associated with long-term COVID-19 infections, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, and loss of appetite.

Cannabis Consumers and COVID-19 Hospital Data

This aligns with the findings of another study based on hospital data, revealing that cannabis consumers with COVID-19 exhibited lower rates of intubation, respiratory failure, and death compared to non-consumers.

Despite the optimistic outlook, researchers at Dalhousie University do not hesitate to highlight the limitations of their findings. The lack of standardization in cannabis products and potential variations in how cannabinoids affect different age groups are acknowledged challenges.

The authors also emphasize the importance of continuing research, particularly through clinical trials and well-designed studies, to understand the underlying mechanisms, optimal doses, administration patterns, and potential side effects associated with modulating the endocannabinoid system in the context of viral infections.

According to the study, “to fully understand the efficacy and safety of cannabinoid-based medicines in the context of COVID-19, further research is necessary.” This cautious approach underscores the need for a comprehensive understanding of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and modulation of the endocannabinoid system in the onset and persistence of COVID-19 symptoms.

Additional Research on Cannabis and COVID-19

In October 2022, a study based on hospital data suggested that cannabis consumers exhibited lower rates of severe outcomes related to COVID-19.

Furthermore, a 2022 laboratory study by Oregon State University highlighted the potential of certain cannabinoids in preventing the virus from entering human cells. However, it is crucial to note that this latter study focused on specific cannabinoids under controlled laboratory conditions and did not consider cannabis consumption by patients themselves, as pointed out by UCLA physicians.

A Canadian COVID-19 study also determined that certain cannabinoids, CBDa and CBGa, prevented Covid infection.

(Featured image by Kimzy Nanney via Unsplash)

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