Researchers at the University of South Carolina believe that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active mind-altering chemical in cannabis, could be effective in treating potentially lethal COVID-19 complications.
The preliminary study found that mice that were given THC were better protected against Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which is potentially a fatal complication of COVID-19.
“Acute respiratory distress syndrome occurs when fluid builds up in the tiny, elastic air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “The fluid keeps your lungs from filling with enough air, which means less oxygen reaches your bloodstream. This deprives your organs of the oxygen they need to function.”
In July, The Lancelet said, “the global experience of managing patients with COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is rapidly expanding, along with an increasing number of reports on respiratory system mechanics and ventilatory management.”
In August, The Lancelet stated, “Patients with COVID-19 can develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is associated with high mortality.”
Johns Hopkins found, “COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, can cause lung complications such as pneumonia and, in the most severe cases, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. Sepsis, another possible complication of COVID-19, can also cause lasting harm to the lungs and other organs.”
“Incidences of ARDS in the United States is 78.9 per 100,000 people a year and the mortality rate is 38.5%, the study said.“The underlying mechanism is your immune system goes haywire and starts destroying your lungs and all your other organs,” said the new study’s co-author Prakash Nagarkatti.
In dozens of experiments, researchers at the University of South Carolina “investigated the effect of THC treatment on SEB-induced ARDS in mice.” SEB is staphylococcal enterotoxin B, an “exotoxin produced by Staphylococcus aureus. It is one of the toxins responsible for staphylococcal food poisoning.”
The study, which was published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, found mice suffering from ARDS had a 100% survival rate when treated with THC.
This is not the first study that tease marijuana could be useful in treating COVID-19. Researchers at the Dental College of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia discovered that Cannabidiol (CBD) might help “patients showing signs of respiratory distress avoid extreme interventions like mechanical ventilation as well as death from acute respiratory distress syndrome.”
Researchers claim that CBD could “reduce the cytokine storm and excessive lung inflammation that is killing many patients with COVID-19.”
“Cytokine storm syndrome is a form of inflammatory response where white blood cells are activated and release inflammatory cytokines, which the activate more white blood cells,” according to Forbes. “The syndrome can cause symptoms like fever, fatigue, and vomiting, but can advance to a point where a patient might need a ventilator to stay alive or might die.”
“ARDS is a major killer in severe cases of some respiratory viral infections, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and we have an urgent need for better intervention and treatment strategies,” said Dr. Babak Baban, immunologist and interim associate dean for research at DCG and corresponding author of the study in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
The Israeli study published in August, found that CBD shows potential in treating coronavirus.
“The early results from the study show that the terpene formulation combined with CBD is twice as effective than CBD alone, and a common corticosteroids treatment for inflammation, Dexamethasone.”
Dexamethasone has been in the news recently after President Donald Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, revealed that the POTUS was treated with the steroid during his hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for coronavirus.
Before you go toking up and think you’re going to use weed to prevent contracting coronavirus, researchers warn that this is preliminary research, and nothing has been definitely proven yet.
“I just want to make sure our research is not interpreted as marijuana is good for COVID 19,” Nagarkatti told The State. “If you start using THC early on it might worsen the effect because it suppresses the immune system.”