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Can Cannabis Help In Fight Against Covid-19? Experts Explain How

cannabis-south-africa
cannabis-south-africa

By their very nature, all medicinal drugs could be seen as toxic for human beings. A tad too much and one could overdose.

This could be the reason why we consume drugs in such minute amounts, such as four to five milligrams per dose.

Almost a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists and health experts around the world have been puzzled, trying to figure out an exact method for combating the novel coronavirus.

With the second wave of infections in our midst, we are starting to see the South African health system take on unprecedented strain, largely due to the influx of Covid-19 patients.

The virus, which reportedly started in Wuhan, China, has forced medical experts to look at unlikely places for a possible treatment for Covid-19.

Earlier this month, a team of researchers from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in the US recommended a look into how cannabis-derived CBD could be used as a possible treatment.

The authors, Siddappa N. Byrareddy and Mahesh Mohan, gave a detailed account in the December issue of Brain, Behaviour and Immunity on how cannabis’s anti-inflammatory bodies may reduce inflammation of the lungs, a prevalent symptom among Covid-19 patients.

“Recent reports have suggested that acute infection is associated with cytokine superstorm, which contributes to the symptoms of fever, cough, muscle pain and in severe cases bilateral interstitial pneumonia,” the report said.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound of the cannabis plant.

The report said that CBD can prevent the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are regulators of the host’s response to infection, immune responses, inflammation and trauma.

The team also found that CBD reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines production in a murine model (laboratory mouse) of chronic asthma, a condition that affects the airways in the lungs.

One of the main concerns for health experts worldwide is to create a vaccine which is suitable to combat the virus as well as have little or minute side effects on the human body.

Another study, which looked at the use of Tocilizumab, a drug used mainly for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, found that it had harmful side effects.

Although Tocilizumab was successful in reducing inflammation of the lungs, it resulted in negative side effects, such as inflammation of the pancreas, and posed a risk of coronary heart disease.

“CBD has a high margin or safety and is well tolerated pharmacologically even after treatments of up to 1500mg/day for two weeks in both animals and humans, which suggests its feasibility to reduce Sars-CoV-2-induced lung inflammation/pathology and disease severity,” the report explained.

The team also noted that CBD could help reduce the mental effects brought on by the Covid-19 virus, such as stress, anxiety and cerebrovascular disease.

In South Africa, last Friday, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on the coronavirus, Professor Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (Krisp) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that a new variant of the virus has been identified.

According to Karim, the new Sars-CoV-2 or 501.v2 variant is more dangerous than the previously observed model of the virus.

By Jehran Naidoo

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