Could cannabis prevent COVID? Survey says…
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a quandary for society since the first strains emerged in early 2020. Since then, much has been discovered about the virus—and according to a new study, cannabis could shape future COVID treatment and prevention.
A scientific review published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine looked at the existing research into cannabis and COVID. The research team from Dalhousie University in Canada found that “cannabis and cannabinoid-based drugs have shown promise in preventing viral entry, acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, and improving many symptoms associated with post-acute SARS-CoV-2 infections.”
According to the paper, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could play a big part in how COVID affects the body. Cannabinoids, the active ingredients in cannabis, are processed through the ECS. According to the paper, there’s a strong correlation between ECS modulation and COVID-19 infection and severity.
A 2023 paper found that cannabis consumers had far fewer COVID-related complications versus non-consumers. This included less intubation, respiratory failure, and death from the disease. Another study published in early 2022 also suggested that CBD and CBG may prevent the COVID-19 virus from infecting human cells—at least in a lab setting.
Cannabis and long-COVID
These studies highlight that cannabis may not only help ward off coronavirus infection but could also relieve the symptoms of long COVID. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-fifth of American adults who have had COVID suffer from long-term effects of the virus.
“Post-SARS-CoV-2 infection, cannabinoids have shown promise in treating symptoms associated with post-acute long COVID-19, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress injury, insomnia, pain, and decreased appetite,” the authors wrote.
While the review was thorough, study authors did note that the majority of research into cannabis and COVID were conducted in other contexts—meaning the discoveries occurred during unrelated studies. They called for more direct inquiry to validate the findings. Concerns over the lack of product consistency and differences in how cannabis affects adults and kids were also noted.
There’s still much to be learned about COVID and the cannabis plant. However, the evidence shows there could be a strong potential for cannabinoids to help reduce infection and ease the virus’s symptoms. While CBD likely isn’t going to be a touted treatment for COVID any time soon, research may shape future drug development. In the meantime, cannabis consumers may be glad to hear their bong rips could potentially keep the ‘rona away.