For full disclosure, this certainly isn’t to say that smoking marijuana will protect you from COVID-19. It’s not the reason why a person gets COVID either. Generally, it doesn’t have anything to do with cannabis. Regardless of your view on cannabis, the results are intriguing. But can cannabis be used as a treatment for Covid-19?
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) or the COVID-19 pandemic includes at least 272 million cases worldwide. It has resulted in 5.3 million deaths, and over 600 000 new cases daily as of December 2021. Its crown-like protrusions on its outer surface characterize it.
SARS-CoV-2 features RNA strands that encode its four main structural proteins. It has a spike, envelope, membrane, nucleocapsid, 16 nonstructural proteins, and several “accessory” proteins.
These proteins bind to the host cell by recognizing the receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). ACE2 is a homolog of ACE. It then converts angiotensin I to angiotensin 1–9. The ACE2 is distributed mainly in the lung, intestine, heart, and kidney, and alveolar epithelial type II cells are the principal expressing cells.
ACE2 is also a known receptor for SARS-CoV. The S1 subunit of the SARS-CoV S protein binds with ACE2 to promote the formation of endosomes, which triggers viral fusion activity under low pH .
Is it possible to use cannabis as a treatment for COVID-19?
This study was published in the Journal of Natural products. The Oregon State University (OSU) research shows hemp compounds prevent coronavirus. It shows that it prevents it from entering human cells.
Findings of the study led by Richard van Breemen at OSU found a pair of cannabinoid acids. It binds to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. It is blocking a critical step in the virus’s process to infect people .
The compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, which inhibit the same spike protein.
This compound is the drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and many hemp extracts. But, it doesn’t have any controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Richard van Breemen demonstrated through research that they were effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2. It also includes variant B.1.1.7. It was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351 was first seen in South Africa.”
When researchers created antiviral interventions, any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target. It targets the spike protein means cell entry inhibitor. It blocks and shortens infection by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells. In addition to that, binding to spike proteins will prevent the spike from binding to ACE2 enzymes.
The Research Method
Van Breemen’s team used affinity selection–mass spectrometric (AS-MS). It is a discovery of natural ligands to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. It ranked these cannabinoid ligands by affinity to the spike protein. As two CBDA and CGBA have the highest relationships and proves to block infection.
AS-MS involves incubating an important receptor like the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This protein with a mixture of possible ligands such as a botanical extract.
The ligand-receptor complexes separate from nonbinding molecules using one of several methods. These are ultrafiltration, size exclusion, or magnetic microbeads. The ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS) was used to characterize the affinity-extracted ligands.
“Our earlier research reported on discovering another compound, one from licorice, that binds to the spike protein too,” he said. “However, we did not test that compound, licochalcone A, for activity against the live virus. We need new funding for that.” Licorice is an herb that grows in parts of Europe and Asia.
Fun fact: In November 2017, The World Health Organization announced that CBD showed no evidence of abuse or dependence potential in humans. There is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with using pure CBD.
In January 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its prohibited list, no longer banning its use by athletes.
Cannabis and the Cytokine Storm
One of the main events that occur in patients with COVID-19 is a “cytokine storm.” A cytokine storm is when your body releases pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to increased inflammation.
Cytokines are small proteins released by many different cells in the body. This includes those of the immune system, which coordinates the body’s response to infection.
Unfortunately, excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines are released in some patients. Similarly, it activates more immune cells, resulting in hyperinflammation. It can seriously harm or even kill the patient.
What happens is COVID patients suffer from lung fibrosis. It is an untreatable condition that leaves lung tissue scarred. This makes it more difficult for them to breathe.
C.Sativa is a type of cannabis in a cytokine storm study to reduce multiple cytokines and pathways related to inflammation and fibrosis.
Two of the cytokines that C.Sativa facilitated were TNFa and IL-6. These are the main targets when trying to block a COVID-19 cytokine storm.
A 2020 mouse-model study found that CBD, an active cannabinoid compound found in cannabis, the results suggests a potential protective role for CBD during ARDS.
It can extend CBD as part of the treatment of COVID-19 by reducing the cytokine storm, protecting pulmonary tissues, and re-establishing inflammatory homeostasis .
How Else Could Cannabis Benefit COVID-19 Patients?
The symptoms of COVID-19 include body aches, sore throat, headaches, and pain. Research shows that Cannabis can help treat these symptoms.
In a study in 2018, 2,032 medical cannabis users have examined. These ranging from 21 illnesses treated with Cannabis showed promising results. It has shown significant potential as a pain reliever. Its potency showed its ability to increase serotonin effects, a neurotransmitter that can induce pain relief .
The endocannabinoid system distributes throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. It is a part of the inflammatory and pain processing. It also plays physiological regulatory roles across every organ system.
This system interacts within its pathways and major endogenous pain pathways. It includes inflammatory, endorphin/enkephalin. THC is 20 times more anti-inflammatory than aspirin. It is also twice as anti-inflammatory as hydrocortisone. It has well-documented analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits. This includes arthritic and inflammatory conditions.
The CB1 and CB2 Receptors
The CB1 receptor is the most abundant G protein-coupled receptor in the brain. It is also one of the most productive in peripheral and central nervous systems.
CB1 receptors connect to the presynaptic peripheral and central nerve terminals. They’re found through the anatomical pain pathways. These receptors are also present in other neurological central and peripheral locations. The CB1 receptor with the “high” felt with some cannabis strains.
These receptors are within the peripheral tissues and immune cells. It helps the release cytokines, chemokines, and cell migration, including neutrophils and macrophages. Some are present in the central nervous system. It may also contribute to pain relief by dopamine release modulation.
For many COVID-19 Patients and patients in general, hospitalization can be stressful. As WHO stated, there aren’t any physical dependencies associated with CBD. They believe that the compound could help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Besides that, CBD can increase serotonin activity and lower cortisol levels.
Reducing these chemicals is helpful for anxiety management as serotonin reduces anxiety. Cortisol is a stress hormone at higher levels in patients with anxiety and depression . In a 2019 Double-blinded placebo trial with CBD. They took 37 18-19 Japanese teenagers with social anxiety disorder.
One group (N=17) took 300mg of CBD for four weeks, the other group took a placebo (N=20). The results state that CBD could be a practical option to treat social anxiety.
Watch the full Episode 86 and learn more about how CBD can help Covid by clicking here 👇
0:00 Introduction 0:52 Sponsor Ads 2:01 Cup of Nurses Introduction 3:35 Episode Introduction 10:29 SARS Cov-2 Update 13:38 Is it possible to use cannabis as a treatment for COVID-19? 14:57 The Research Method by Van Breemen’s Team 21:23 How We Should Deal with C19 Vaccines 24:34 Fun Fact About the Use of CBD 25:08 Cannabis and the Cytokine Storm 31:48 What is C. Sativa? The compound in the Cytokine storm. 33:03 Mouse-Model Study of CBD 33:54 How else could Cannabis benefit COVID-19 Patients? 42:12 The CB1 and CB2 Receptors