Want to protect yourself and your family from COVID19? Cannabis products could be the answer. That, at least, is the surprising suggestion from researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. They have been investigating the effect of cannabis on the ACE2 receptors, which are used by the virus to enter the body.
FEATURED IMAGE VIA
Cannabis is big news at the moment. CBD oil, which comes from the cannabis plant, is the latest panacea among natural health fans, while psychotropic products like weed and edibles are more widely available than ever due to a wave of legalization across the US. Given that background, it was, perhaps, inevitable that someone would tout cannabis as a protector against COVID19 sooner or later.
Reducing the entry points
The research team has been investigating potential medical applications for cannabis-based products since 2015. Its use in treating conditions such as inflammation, anxiety and even some types of cancer is well documented. So when coronavirus appeared, the scientists shifted their focus to examine the receptors it uses to enter the human body.
Olga Kovalchuk, one of the Lethbridge researchers, said these receptors can be likened to doorways in a house. The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis effectively reduce the number of these doors by around 70 percent and prevent the virus from gaining entry.
Before we all go flocking to MMJDirect to stock up on kush and cannabis gummies, however, it is advisable to look at both sides of the story. While Kovalchuk said she was “really happy and excited” about the breakthrough, others in the scientific community have sounded words of warning. Dr. Stanton Glantz is a lead researcher at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF. He warned that while the evidence for cannabis having any effect on COVID is highly limited, there is a strong correlation between smoking and getting sick. In other words, he warned that if cannabis is ingested in this way, it could do more harm than good. He said: “There’s not a lot of direct data on COVID. But there’s a ton of evidence that smoking and vaping depress immune function in your lungs.”
More than just weed
The counter to Dr. Glantz’s argument is, of course, that there is more to cannabis than smoking weed. With edibles, topicals, creams and even bath bombs available, there are numerous ways to derive whatever benefits cannabis can deliver without lighting up a joint. In fact, using cannabis does not necessarily even mean getting high. There are two primary active compounds in cannabis, THC and CBD. THC is the psychotropic component for which cannabis is most famous, and this is found in the products that people typically eat or smoke to get high. CBD does not have any psychotropic effect but does deliver a range of benefits that are backed up by scientific research.
The correlation between cannabis and COVID is based on desk data only, so there is plenty more research to be done. Time will tell whether clinical trials substantiate the early indications and cannabis really does provide viable protection.