Study conducted by the researchers from the University of South Carolina has come up with a new possibility to treat COVD-19. This time, it’s none other than the cannabis plant which shares a controversial but proven medicinal status. They have found that THC, a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant can reduce and heal COVID-19 symptoms thus increases the chances of a complete recovery.
These results are obtained after studying the effect of THC on animal models. These rats were given THC injections, after which they survived a fatal viral threat. The THC may suppress the cytokine storm which often causes death in coronavirus patients.
The cytokine storm which affects COVID-19 patients is called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). During this phase, the virus takes over the immune response and uses it for its own benefits. Those patients who are hospitalized are often experiencing the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Other COVID-19 symptoms such as fatigue, fever, or pain are somehow manageable without hospitalization but in case of cytokine response, it is essential to receive emergency medical care.
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Cytokines are naturally occurring proteins inside the human body that play an important role in immunity. Whenever there is an infection, it produces and releases a high amount of cytokines in the bloodstream but it can be a dangerous process because it causes fever, inflammation, and difficulty in breathing. If not controlled, this cytokine storm can take the patient’s life.
Prakash Nagarkatti one of the authors of this study explains that once the virus takes over the immune system, it starts attacking other body organs and destroying them.
To evaluate the efficiency of THC against typical COVID-19 symptoms, the research team tried to trigger the cytokines storm in the experimental rats. After that, they gave them THC injections and recorded the results. This procedure was repeated not just once or twice but several times and finally came to conclude that rats that were injected with THC injections survived a cytokines response and had no fatal symptoms.
But THC is not a part of any FDA approved therapy either for ARDS or for any other disease. It is a part of many dietary supplements that promise several health benefits. But for COVID-19 patients, pure THC is required which may not be achieved through dietary supplements.
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The researchers also explain that their study doesn’t intend to give a message that all COVID-19 patients should be treated with cannabis, it is not the case. In fact, using cannabis in any form may make the coronavirus infection worse as it suppresses the immunity. Its role is only useful when the immunity is accelerated which is why THC based COVID-19 treatment requires further investigation and safety evaluation.
This study is being shared by cannabis advocates but it surely needs more extensive research before being used for treating any disease. At this point, the evidence of THC against symptoms of COVID-19 is preliminary. THC or any CBD products can not treat COVID-19 or ease its symptoms unless a doctor approves it. Using CBD tinctures or CBD gummies is not recommended at any stage of COVID-19.