The stage is set for marijuana research to become a priority in 2021. Rep. Chuck Shumer has already held a stakeholders meeting to determine next steps for federal legalization and is committed to federal marijuana reform. And, only a few states remain as holdouts in legalizing medical marijuana use.
Among the research already conducted, cannabis has been revealed to assist in inflammatory lung “storms” associated with COVID-19. These “cytokine storms”, cause excessive inflammation in the respiratory system responsible for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This is the most common cause of death for those with COVID-19. Though difficult to treat, cannabis may offer a bit of hope.
How Cannabis Might Help Weather the Storm
Research has already revealed the anti-inflammatory qualities of cannabis. Many of the plant compounds found there work together to manage inflammatory symptoms and reduce responses. Cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and terpenes such as myrcene and carylphyllene all combat inflammation. Because of these inflammation fighting compounds, cannabis isn’t a far-fetched treatment to COVID-19.
What the Research Shows
Using a 3D artificial tissue lung with well-established full thickness and human-derived skin cells, researchers were able to expose the model to UV light in order to induce inflammation. The inflammation was then treated with seven different types of cannabis extracts.
Researchers found that three of the seven extracts were effective in reducing cytokine activity by inhibiting two cytokine molecules (THFa and IL06) which are both primary targets for COVID-19 and ARDS development. The reduction of inflammation was “profound”.
In addition to a potential treatment for COVID-19, cannabis may have benefits for reducing anxiety and fear created by living in a pandemic environment. Decades of research suggest that CBD and a number of other chemical compounds found in hemp, can reduce panic and fear by nourishing the endocannabinoid system. A clinical study — set to be the first of its kind — will begin in 2021. Depending on the results, the study could prove the benefits of use of CBD for treatment of panic disorder, anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Curious about Cannabis?
Contact our office and find out if cannabis might be a beneficial addition to your treatment plan.