4 Reasons Cannabis Isn’t Going to Save You From COVID

Health and Natural Healing Tips / Coronavirus (COVID-19)  / 4 Reasons Cannabis Isn’t Going to Save You From COVID
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4 Reasons Cannabis Isn’t Going to Save You From COVID

Stoners everywhere rejoiced when a new study emerged claiming that cannabis compounds can help thwart the novel coronavirus. While you absolutely can stock up at a San Francisco dispensary to ride out the rest of the pandemic with plenty of pot, you should know that cannabis is definitely not a cure for COVID-19. Here’s why:

Scientists Aren’t Using the Cannabis Compounds You Expect

You, an educated stoner, know the science of why you get high from smoking weed. Cannabis compounds like THC and CBD enter your bloodstream and bind to receptors of the endocannabinoid system, located primarily in the central nervous system but also in the immune system, the digestive system, the muscles, and more.

Unfortunately, researchers aren’t using the cannabis compounds you and your body recognize as the ones that get you high. Instead, they are using cannabinoids in their raw form. Raw cannabinoids have an extra bit attached that prevents them from binding to the endocannabinoid system, which is why eating raw bud won’t give you any kind of buzz.

However, researchers have discovered that some raw cannabinoids, like CBDA and CBGA, will bind to the spike protein on the novel coronavirus, effectively disabling it. In doing so, the cannabinoids prevent the spike from penetrating human cells, which means the virus can’t replicate or cause serious disease. CBDA and CBD simply aren’t the same compound, and they don’t have the same effects.

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We Don’t Know Enough About the Effects of Cannabis

Though the results of this study are promising, you won’t see any legitimate healthcare professional advocating that everyone run out and rub raw cannabis into every pore. The fact is we just don’t know all that much about the effects of cannabis, especially raw cannabis, to advocate that everyone starts using it.

Cannabis research is in its infancy; decades of anti-cannabis regulations made it essentially impossible to study weed for most of the 20th century and half of the 21st. Even now, cannabis researchers are extremely limited in their funding and resources, so revelations about the short- and long-term effects of weed are slow coming.

We know enough about cannabis to allow adults of a certain age to use it recreationally without much risk, and there are noteworthy benefits to some patients using medical marijuana as a treatment. You can visit a San Francisco dispensary as often as you like — but you shouldn’t compel others to do so based on a mistaken belief that it will save them from COVID.

The Study Is In Vitro, not in People

One of the best ways to begin the process of developing a drug treatment is to test an active compound in a petri dish, which is also called an in vitro study. Petri dishes are inexpensive and provide fast results, so researchers can identify which compounds are worth further investigation, eventually in vivo, or in living animals and people.

The cannabis study currently attracting attention is an in vitro study. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t worth paying attention to; in fact, researchers find their results promising and will likely continue studying this application of cannabinoids. However, in vitro studies lack the complexity of the real world. Plenty of drugs that work perfectly in vitro never make it to market for various reasons; they might create horrible side effects in human users, or they might be needed in such extremely high doses that they are impractical. Simply put, further research is needed to understand whether and how to use cannabinoids to fight COVID.

The Compounds Prevent Infection

Many stoners are misinterpreting headlines, believing that weed is a cure for COVID — but that simply isn’t the case. As explained above, cannabis compounds prevent the novel coronavirus from replicating itself; they don’t kill the virus outright. Thus, should these cannabinoids be developed into a tool for fighting COVID-19, they will likely be a preventative treatment, not a cure. Ultimately, if you are already suffering from a COVID-19 infection, you can’t expect any amount of cannabis — raw or not — to make you feel better or ensure your safe recovery.

Cannabis shouldn’t be your only hope for staying safe from COVID. You can (and should!) get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain physical distance to prevent the spread and lower your risk of serious disease. Then, in a few years, if you still want to try the new cannabinoid preventative tool, you can go right ahead.

 

Stacey Chillemi

staceychillemi@staceychillemi.com

The Complete Guide to Natural Healing believes that food, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicine can be your best medicine. Our staff will show you the truth about health and wellness, so you can help your family and closest friends get even healthier. You’ll learn exactly what you should do and how to eat to get healthy, exercise to get your leanest, healthiest body, and how to take control of your family’s health, using natural remedies as medicine.

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