Medical Marijuana: A Potential and Effective Treatment for COVID-19 Disease
Researchers across the globe are making use of medical marijuana as a potential and effective treatment for COVID-19. The University of Miami researchers announced a study earlier in the month of May, which included the impact of COVID-19 on American cannabis users during the peak of the crisis. Also, cannabinoids that act at CB2R have shown promising results in minimizing the acute inflammatory response in experimental sepsis. However, it is very early to say whether medical marijuana is an effective prevention and treatment option for COVID-19.
With COVID-19 disease continuing to spread all across the globe, researchers are looking into multiple options for possible treatment that includes existing drugs. Medical marijuana or cannabis is one option that is gaining a lot of attention in these COVID-19 pandemic situation. The researchers are using medical marijuana as a potential, effective and safe treatment for COVID-19 disease. Though the early research showed promising results, but it is too early to consider cannabis as a safe and effective treatment. According to a Research Dive published report, the COVID-19 outbreak has adversely affected the global medical marijuana market .
Recent Research on Medical Marijuana as a COVID-19 Treatment
Due to the continued restriction on cannabis research in various regions across the globe, there are not yet any research studies that focuses on medical marijuana as a prevention or possible treatment for COVID-19. The University of Miami researcher announced a study earlier in the month of May, which included the impact of coronavirus on American cannabis users during the peak of the crisis.
An assistant professor at the School of Nursing and Health (SNH) stated that the global qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, though not unchanging, all include individuals with chronic health conditions and compromised immune systems. Therefore, this is the population that cannot be overlooked in the joint effort to ‘flatten the curve.’
The recent partnership between medical marijuana research companies Swysh, Inc.Pathway RX, and the University of Lethbridge in Canada found that certain medical marijuana sativa extracts could be used in treatments to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2. In detail, they found that the extracts affects on the expression of TMPRSS2 and ACE2, which are the proteins in human cells that are being shown as an entry point for the virus by the research. However, this research conducted in Canada has not yet bee peer reviewed.
Although, this Canadian study is vital for the future analysis on how medical marijuana effects on COVID-19 disease, a large-scale validation is required for the most effective results. The extracts of the new high cannabidiol (CBD) sativa lines are most successful, further investigation might show that the new Canadian study becomes a safe and useful addition to the treatment of COVID-19 disease as an adjunct therapy. The CBD sativa lines could potentially be used in as a throat gargle or mouthwash to prevent coronavirus infection.
Tetra Bio-Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company based in Canada is also taking efforts to discover and develop a drug for treatment of COVID-19 by using medical marijuana. The company hopes to secure funding in order to advance their COVID-19 program in the U.S. and Canada. Specifically, Tetra Bio-Pharma will examine the active molecule in their synthetic cannabinoid PPP003 drug, with an expectation that it can reduce the inflammation and the over-activity of the immune system that can lead to sepsis. This can therefore, lead to better clinical outcomes.
Cannabinoids that act at CB2R have shown promising results in minimizing the acute inflammatory response in experimental sepsis. In addition, some of these could be suitable and useful in patients with SARS-CoV-2. The clinical trials well-designed of PPP003 are required to prove whether this medical marijuana drug could help stop the progression of signs of the heightened immune response and acute lung injury in some patients following coronavirus infection.
Recently in Israel, a similar research was launched by InnoCan Pharma Ltd, a pharmaceutical company that is concentrating on offering cannabis therapies. The company announced its partnership with Tel Aviv University in order to develop a possible cell therapy treatment that uses medical marijuana to treat COVID-19 patients. The company says that the product will be given to patients through inhalation, which could be also used as treatment for diverse lung infections.
Risks of Medical Marijuana Use during the Pandemic
There are many people worldwide who think that upping their cannabis intake can help in treating or preventing COVID-19 infection, which is mistaken. In particular, smoking more marijuana or cannabis is likely to put yourself at a greater risk of infection. This is because the COVID-19 infection attacks the lungs. Thus, coronavirus can be a serious threat for those involved in smoking cannabis or tobacco.
As for those speculating if oils or edibles are a safer way out, there just isn’t plenty research to prove that these products are actually effective against COVID-19 disease. With the current research on medical marijuana as a COVID-19 treatment and prevention strategy is still in the early stages. There are still no clear answers as to whether the cannabis-based drugs are effective and safe options. The studies in Canada and Israel have only just been launched with no concrete timeline on when the results will be out. While it will possibly be frustrating for many who are looking for a clear answer now, it will be lots of months before we know for sure whether medical marijuana is an effective and safe option against COVID-19.
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