Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS is a severe medical condition caused by Staphylococcal enterotoxin. The new study reports the potential of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Cannabis shares a controversial status and most people remember it for its conventional recreational and intoxicating effects. But this new study has highlighted its potential benefits for respiratory distress patients. The complete study findings are now published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
These findings are obtained from the studies conducted by Dr. Mitzi Nagarkatti and Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti from the University of South Carolina (UofSC). They have previously studied how the plant-based compounds can help to curb inflammation inside the body which often triggers a number of medical conditions.
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Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is highly common in the US with 78.9/ 100,000 cases reported every year. Out of these, 38.5% of people lose their lives to this disease which is why researchers are trying to find a treatment that could save all these people.
As mentioned before, Staphylococcal enterotoxin is responsible for initiating Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). After it is inhaled and reaches inside the body it attacks the immune system and makes it produce cytokines in such a high amount that the body goes into a cytokines storm phase. It causes major body organs especially lungs to fail and the person eventually loses his life.
This condition is also reported on some of the COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms. Many of them got Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and were immediately hospitalized in intensive care. Doctors have confirmed multiple organ failure in many COVID-19 mortalities, suggesting that Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome may be the cause of this organ failure.
This new study has raised cannabis as an effective natural remedy to treat ARDS patients, especially in COVID-19 cases.
Once Staphylococcal enterotoxin is inside the body, it completely changes the microbiota of the lungs and promotes the production of pathogenic microbes i.e. viruses. It also reduces the number of beneficial bacteria that are responsible to maintain the natural balance in the human microbiome, leading to lungs and metabolic damage.
There are so many etiological factors that could trigger ARDS but surprisingly no medicines to treat these patients are available. Many medicines that are being used on these patients are not even approved by the FDA which is why the mortality rate of respiratory distress patients is so high.
These studies on THC suggesting it to be a treatment for ARDS patients are highly significant but it requires clinical trials before reaching a conclusive end. Human cytokine response is triggered may lead to multiple organ failure and a natural anti-inflammatory such as THC may lower this risk.
If proven successful after clinical trials, THC-based medicine may change the whole plan of treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome patients. In this way, cannabis may become the future of medicine and its current status of a controversial and illegal plant may be changed soon.