In the ongoing quest to prevent the spread of COVID-19, researchers in Canada may have had a breakthrough: They found that certain cannabis extracts may block proteins that help COVID-19 to enter your body’s host cells.
The researchers at the University of Lethbridge, in Alberta, Canada, supposed that since “cannabis sativa, especially one high in the anti-inflammatory CBD, has been proposed to modulate gene expression and inflammation and harbor anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties,” perhaps it could also suppress COVID-19.
After developing “over 800 new Cannabis sativa lines and extracts,” their data, published in the journal Preprints, suggests that indeed some C. sativa extracts can slow down a critical protein required for COVID-19 to enter your cells. The authors add that “our most effective extracts require further large-scale validation” and note the study is not yet peer-reviewed.
Now this does not mean that smoking marijuana can prevent the coronavirus. On the contrary, smoking can lead to more complications. “What happens to your airways when you smoke cannabis is that it causes some degree of inflammation, very similar to bronchitis, very similar to the type of inflammation that cigarette smoking can cause,” pulmonologist Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association, told CNN. “Now you have some airway inflammation and you get an infection on top of it. So, yes, your chance of getting more complications is there.”
“Covid-19 is a pulmonary disease,” Dr. Mitchell Glass, a pulmonologist and spokesperson for the American Lung Association, also told CNN. “Do you really want to have a confounding variable if you need to see a doctor or a healthcare worker by saying, ‘Oh, and by the way, I’m not a regular user of cannabis, but I decided to use cannabis to calm myself down.’ You don’t want to do anything that’s going to confound the ability of healthcare workers to make a rapid, accurate assessment of what’s going on with you.”
Instead, the study’s authors feel “the extracts…pending further investigation may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy. They can be used to develop easy-to-use preventative treatments in the form of mouthwash and throat gargle products for both clinical and at-home use….Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.”
And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.