22 million people worldwide have been infected with COVID-19
Still, researchers estimate that it will take up to a year and a half before an effective vaccine is developed.
During this period of uncertainty, many have wondered whether cannabis could be used in the battle against the virus, and while initial positive results have been discovered, it is too early to tell whether cannabinoids will be truly effective in larger trials.
However recent studies give reason to hope. Forbes Magazine reported earlier this month that a recent study examining the use of cannabis terpene formulation – NT-VRL on inflammatory conditions has had some very promising results in treating cytokine storm syndrome caused by COVID-19.
Cytokine storm syndrome is an inflammatory response where white blood cells are activated and release inflammatory cytokines, which activate more white blood cells. This can cause symptoms including fever, fatigue, and vomiting, but can advance to a point where a patient might need a ventilator to stay alive or might even die.
“Early results from the study, which took place in Israel,” reports the magazine, “ show that the terpene formulation combined with CBD is twice as effective at using CBD on its own as well as twice as effective as Dexamethasone, a common corticosteroids treatment for inflammation.”
There is solid reasoning behind the hypothesis that cannabis and its constituent cannabinoids like CBD and THC could be used to treat the symptoms of COVID-19. The key to the hypothesis is the fact that the deaths associated with the virus are thought to occur in large part due to the body’s own immune response being overly reactive. When the body has this overreacting immune system, such as in severe cases of COVID-19, the resulting inflammation can harm the body’s own tissues, such as lung tissue where respiratory failure can occur.
Research shows that THC and CBD can alter the body’s inflammatory response and help avert inflammatory damage being done to tissues and organs. In fact, cannabinoids regulate the exact same inflammatory proteins responsible for some of the damage occurring in COVID-19 cases.
However, there is also evidence that cannabinoids could also reduce the immune response too much, and smoking of any kind is a possible risk factor for worsening symptoms, so, at this point, patients must exercise caution.
In order for cannabis to be used as a treatment for COVID-19, it is necessary for the medicines to be shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms or presence of the virus in a large and diverse group of patients who have COVID-19. To date, a study of this size has not been conducted.
Meanwhile, as we await the results of studies currently underway, we are fortunate here in Taos, and along the Rio, to have access to high-quality medicinal cannabis thanks to Southwest Wellness. Whether or not it can help in both prevention and minimizing the COVID symptoms, we know for sure it can help with stress, pain levels, and anxiety. A New Mexico Medical Marijuana Card can be applied for at South West Wellness dispensaries.
Right now, through the end of summer, they have an $8 and $9 per gram special on flower grown in their state of the art greenhouses right here, in Taos.
The dispensaries all follow strict COVID protocols: Masks are mandatory, only two patients are allowed in at a time, and markers are placed six feet apart outside for those waiting.
Southwest Wellness has three locations in Albuquerque, 9132 Montgomery Blvd, 2325 San Pedro Dr NE and 101 98th St SW.
Southwest Wellness also has a location in Espanola, at 423 South Riverside Dr. Phone: (505) 747-2644
Southwest Wellness in Taos is located at 1023 Salazar Rd.
For more on Southwest Wellness, visit them online.
All images thanks to SWWellness