Scientists have been investigating how the usage of cannabis can contribute to the risk or in the treatment of COVID19 infection since the pandemic has hit the world. Some of the experts have immediately concluded that cannabis will be harmful like tobacco. However, recently a group of scientists has claimed that cannabis might be able to treat the severe COVID19 infection. A new study has focused on the use of cannabinoid THC as a potential treatment to cure fatal COVID19 infection. They as well have observed cannabinoid CBD as a potential treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and cytokine syndrome. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is a sign of severe COVID19 cases, which can result in death as well. Experts from the University of South Carolina, Columbia have been probing the potential of THC to prevent deaths due to COVID19 infection. THC is a chemical present in cannabis. It is responsible for creating a psychoactive effect or a feeling of high among people who consume it. At the same time, it has medicinal properties as well. It can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent and pain reliever as well.
In the study, experts have examined how the anti-inflammatory property of THC fights against the cytokine storm and ARDS. Cytokine Storm is a condition where the immune system of the patients is exhausted while fighting off the infection. Production of cytokines is a sign of a healthy immune response but when the infection is severe, the body pumps up excessive cytokines, which creates a dangerous level of inflammation. This condition can lead to ARDS where breathing gets hard and at times, it becomes almost impossible. Experts have conducted a study on mice to explore the potential of THC to treat cytokine storm. During the study, mice have been infected with bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus (SEB), which causes cytokine storm and ARDS in mice. One group of mice has been given the treatment with THC and the other group has received the treatment without THC. At the end of the study, 100 percent of mice that have received THC as treatment have recovered from the infection whereas mice that have not been given THC have died due to infection
Some of the experts say that treatment with THC can be dangerous at the early stage of the infection, as it will refrain the immune system from fighting off the infection. On the other hand, this study shows that the use of THC in the early stage will improve the prognosis and avoid the damage to the lungs. THC has been able to increase the T cells as well, which helps in containing inflammation. Experts have also observed the potential of THC in treating ARDS. They have compared the gene expression of COVID19 patients with ARDS and mice with SEB. Experts have been able to find similarities between the two and claimed that THC might work in ARDS as well. However, there is a requirement for human studies for more conclusive results.