What does marijuana have to do with Covid 19? Well not a lot. In fact, it’s not advisable to inhale marijuana smoke if you’re suffering from a respiratory disease. When it comes to the body’s immune system and cannabis we’re not focusing on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but cannabidiol (CBD) from a sativa flower. You see our friend CBD might just be a powerful ally in the war against COVID-19. But how?
First of all, we should go over some discretions so we don’t confuse people. There have been previous claims that smoking cigarettes can protect you against Covid and that’s insane. Also there are misleading headlines claiming marijuana can do the same and again- and we can’t emphasize enough, that is not true.
The act of vaping or smoking marijuana can only irritate your lungs and make a respiratory illness even worse. Sharing a bong or a joint also raises the risk of spreading Covid-19. If you are suffering symptoms of Covid-19 an edible would be advisable if you are so inclined to get high. Another wild and crazy idea is to leave the marijuana alone until you’re recovered but hey- I’m a captain not a doctor.
The Best Defense
So what the heck are we talking about when we are referring to cannabis helping in the fight against COVID-19? To be clear we are not referring to marijuana which is the flower from the female plant that is saturated in sweet THC. The THC is not what we need. We are referring to her bigger brother CBD.
In case you haven’t heard about what CBD is all about check our other blogs regarding CBD:
- What’s The Deal With CBD?
- How To Make Your Own CBD
- CBD For Dogs. Why or Why Not?
- CBD Can Kill Gonorrhea
- Can CBD Help You Quit Drinking?
As you can see, CBD has been getting a lot of attention lately. So if it can ease anxiety and arthritis pain how in the name of The Grateful Dead is it supposed to fight Covid 19? Well the answer is it doesn’t fight it directly but rather slams the door so the virus can’t enter our body.
According to CTV News Dr. Igor and Olga Kovalchuk from the University of Lethbridge have been experimenting with a sativa strain. They were able conclude that certain strains can protect our ACE2 receptor from allowing the virus to enter the body.
Without getting all “sciencey” here is the simplest explanation: The ACE2 receptor is an enzyme on the outer layer of cells found in the cardiovascular system and lungs. It’s meant to protect those organs but unfortunately acts as a doorway for Covid 19. You’ve seen the pics of the spikes from the virus. Those spikes penetrate the ACE2 receptor and the Covid war with your immune system begins.
While regular ole CBD affects your CB1 receptor in your neurological system this particular strain of CBD targets the ACE2 receptor. The Kovalchuk’s tested 400 strains of CBD dominant cannabis and found about a dozen can affect the ACE2 receptor. In their findings they found that CBD can help the receptor close itself off from the viral infection. In a sense without the ACE2 receptor being open, that spike filled virus isn’t going to be successful infecting its host.
That’s the idea anyway. The Kovalchuks saw a 75% success rate with the strains they tested. Unfortunately those strains are not available to the public just yet. There are still a lot of studies and testing to be done to make sure it’s safe. If it is, it could lead to a safe and unobtrusive medication in the fight against Covid 19. If you want to see their progress you can check out their findings here.
Fights Lung Inflammation
Covid-19 can lead to inflammation of the lungs which can cause pneumonia. The lungs can fill with fluid making breathing extremely hard. Sadly, when people make it to this stage of Covid they require a ventilator.
Currently scientists believe that CBD can help reduce the inflammation of the respiratory system giving patients a fighting chance. When Covid 19 reaches an advanced stage the body’s immune system has already kicked into high gear. That means inflammation, which is controlled by small proteins called cytokines. They act as a signal for the immune system to do its thing.
While they are an important part of the immune system they can inflame organs which can be a dangerous situation for the patient. CBD has been shown to reduce those cytokines which can reduce the chance of pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis is lung tissue scared from an infection.
CBD can also boost interferons which is part of the immune system that can stop viruses from replicating. However that’s not a guarantee that it can be effective against Covid-19 and it’s variants of concern. Anyone suffering from the disease can use CBD as an option especially before breathing becomes an issue.
Why Don’t We All Chug This Down And Be Done With It?
While any news of another medicine in the fight against Covid is encouraging we can’t assume it’s some magical cure. In Canada and most of the USA, CBD is publicly available in different forms. The strains scientists are working with are designed to bind with our immune system. However, it’s not a one size fits all solution to this deadly disease. Eating a CBD gummy and hitting up a crowded beach or being anywhere in Texas isn’t going to help anyone.
There is one thing that most CBD strains do have in common and that’s easing anxiety. This is a tough time for all of us. The news is depressing. Staying home is depressing. Only seeing grandma on a computer screen is depressing. Also, mourning those we’ve lost in this pandemic, is heart breaking.
There are those out there who find it hard to cope and turn to harsher substances like alcohol or pills. Well maybe there’s a cleaner and healthier solution that can help (not cure) the blues without destroying your insides. We are in this together so please hang in there and keep the faith. Stay informed, don’t listen to conspiracy theories and always know, the suns coming up tomorrow.
Stay safe my friends.