Cannabis and Covid-19 have a checkered history. On the one hand, staying at home during the pandemic made many more people turn to cannabis, and those who were already frequent users embraced the wake-and-bake style. But as the retail sales of cannabis skyrocketed, the sector also felt the impact of lockdowns just like any other industry. According to MJBizDaily.com, the 20 largest marijuana companies in Canada had to lay off 6,000 employers during the global health crisis.
But there’s more about the relationship between the most popular recreational substance in the world and the deadly virus than meets the eye. A recent study by Italian scientists hinted that a cannabinoid CBD, which is one of the active substances unique to the plant, can counteract intestinal damage in COVID-19 patients.
It is now a common knowledge that the coronavirus can invade not only thу respiratory system but the gastrointestinal tract as well. It has the so-called spiked protein that attaches itself to the cell membranes of the epithelium and causes their inflammation and damage.
Researchers from the Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Naples were looking for a drug that has well-documented anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant properties, and they thought of CBD.
CBD, or cannabidiol, has been making headlines for some time now. It has all but eclipsed the fame of THC, the most common of the two main cannabinoids and the one that makes you “high”. Unlike THC, cannabidiol isn’t mind-altering which instantly made it a darling of researchers looking at the medical potential of cannabis.
As was expected, the Italian team indeed found evidence that CBD is a terrific option of fighting the inflammation in the bowels of COVID-19 patients.
It’s not the first time that scientists study cannabis effect on patients with COVID. The research started almost as soon as the pandemic began to take its toll. A review of the scientific literature on the subject published in 2020 suggested that the plant or at least one of its constituents can be effective against the coronavirus in a number of ways.
It all starts with preventing the infection in the first place. While smoking a CBD-rich strain of weed may not protect you, using a CBD mouthwash is probably a good idea, as one study suggested. At least, it wouldn’t hurt to use it alongside a mask and social distancing.
And when the unfortunate thing has happened and the virus got inside your body, CBD may be able to protect your organs from all the damage it causes. Preclinical studies suggest that the cannabinoid can help heal acute lung injury and restore the pulmonary function once the disease subsides and the recovery period begins.
And one should not forget that cannabis isn’t just a medicine for the body. It can also help your mind.
We’ve already mentioned the fact that the use of the substance increased due to the lockdown measures. But it was not only because people were trying to kill their boredom with an extra bowl or two. They were also treating their anxiety and depression, and we can only conjecture how many suicides, psychotic breaks, and acts of domestic violence were prevented by cannabis.