Can Marijuana Help With Covid-19?
The COVID 19 pandemic ranks as one of the most significant events of the new Millenium (to date). The virus is responsible for a massive loss of life, economic turmoil, and a disruption of everyday living. As the search for a medical vaccine continues, few consider natural medicines as a viable alternative in the prevention, treatment, and management of the disease.
Cannabis is widely recognized for its medicinal properties (source). Archeological discoveries indicate that consumption of the plant solely as medicine started from as early as 2000 BC. However, factors such as the criminalization of the herb prevented research on the plant’s medicinal properties until recent times. Even then, the findings continue to astound experts on the many possibilities that cannabis offers.
The article considers cannabis and its potential in the management of COVID 19. Some believe that the plant can help to control and prevent severe implications of the virus owing to its ability to affect several body systems. Although the topic is yet to be fully explored, some experts seem to agree with the idea that cannabis may turn out to be helpful in the fight against the virus.
A Little About the Virus
COVID 19 is a respiratory virus whose symptoms are somewhat similar to the flu. The reason it is so dangerous is mainly that few people have built-in immunity towards it. The virus attacks the lungs, causing breathing complications which might become fatal if left unchecked.
How Can Cannabis Help
Cannabis contains complex chemical compounds that include terpenes, THC, CBD, and others. These chemicals have several health benefits. CBD for instance has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce lung damage. Some experts believe that consuming CBD products can prevent severe cases of the disease including the prevention of cytokine storms(source).
Research indicates that cannabis acts as a vasodilator. It facilitates relaxation of the air passageways. A key source of lung and bronchial inflammation relates to the blocking of the air passages which makes it difficult to breathe and might lead to anaphylaxis shock. Besides, cannabis intake may increase an individual’s lung capacity (and better their chances of surviving the virus).
Additional studies indicate that THC can help the body to safeguard against Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) which can be fatal for COVID 19 patients. Most patients placed under ventilators usually suffer from the condition. A severe occurrence of ARDS often leaves behind pulmonary scars that can cause one to be more susceptible to respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma in the future.
The Downside of The Matter
Although the findings are very promising, one has to remember that the research is still very young. Most of the trials are conducted on animals (such as mice) and the human implications are yet to be tested fully.
Another aspect to consider relates to how one consumes cannabis. For instance, smoking dried cannabis may be fun, but it also has serious health consequences. Smokers are at a higher risk of contracting severe complications owing to their reduced lung function. Besides, the cannabis culture includes many people gathered in a small space and sharing their products. Which is not only dangerous but also significantly increases the chances of one contracting the disease.
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