Whatever your feelings about South Carolina, there are some cool researchers there.
For years, Olga and Igor Kovalchuck have been developing and testing a novel cannabis strain to see if they could create a strain that that would combat cancer and inflammation.
Then that whole pandemic thing hit and they shifted their focus on how cannabis could fight COVID-19. They’ve made some interesting findings.
But don’t pull out the bong/doobie/vaporizer just yet.
Cannabis Could Fight COVID-19… Sorta
In their studies, Olga and Igor found that THC may just help to treat some potentially lethal complications of COVID-19. It all comes down to how it works with the immune system.
The study, which was performed on mice, found that THC could prevent the harmful immune response in the body that kicks on when trying to fight COVID-19. This response is known as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and it can be fatal.
At the very least, it can leave lasting pulmonary scarring.
With ARDS, the body’s immune system goes into massive overdrive. In its efforts to kill the disease, it also begins to destroy the lungs and other organs. The researchers saw enough evidence in the mice that THC could lessen this that they’re now recommending health professionals start human trials of the treatment.
This new information has brought a lot of traffic to local dispensaries such as the Greenhouse in Walled Lake. People want to know how cannabis can help them. While owner Jerry Millen and his staff are quick to share that they are not doctors, they do have plenty of anecdotal information to pass.
Here is the caveat though:
This in NO WAY means that anyone who currently has an active COVID infection should institute recreational use of cannabis to self-medicate. THC can actually suppress the immune response. Thus, using it in the early phases of an infection could hinder the body’s response to COVID-19 and render the infection worse rather than better.
Cannabis and Cytokine Storm Syndrome
Igor and Olga weren’t the first to suggest how cannabis could be beneficial in the fight against COVID complications though.
If you haven’t yet heard of cytokine storm syndrome, it’s the inflammatory response to the COVID-19 virus where white blood cells are activated and release inflammatory cytokines. This, in turn, activates more white blood cells.
The syndrome causes symptoms like fatigue, fever, and vomiting. But if the syndrome continues to advance, breathing becomes difficult and then impossible without a ventilator. Not having access to a ventilator is certain death.
Dexamethasone, a common corticosteroid, has been used to treat inflammation for COVID patients. But a study done in August in Israel showed that a specific terpene formulation combined with CBD is twice as effective as the dexamethasone in treating cytokine storm syndrome.
Blocking the Virus
Finally, way back in June, two Canadian researchers found a specific strain of cannabis could be helpful in the fight due to its ability to block the virus from entering the body through ACE2 receptors.
There’s a lengthy and scientifically-worded explanation in the study that explains how it does this. But since we’re cannabis marketing experts and not scientists, suffice it to say that modulating the ACE2 levels in the tissues most susceptible to the disease could be a solid strategy for decreasing that susceptibility.
Whatever the case, it’s important to remember that cannabis is still federally prohibited and has therefore not been approved as a prevention or treatment for COVID-19.
We’re just stating the facts.
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