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Coronavirus and Cannabis- Is There Truth to Cannabis Smoking Being Effective Treatment?

Updated: Apr 9


The short answer is no. There have been no confirmed reports about Cannabis being a treatment for the coronavirus (COVID-19). There haven’t been any studies/trials regarding Cannabis and coronavirus, but there are many theories going around due to the known anti-inflammatory and other anti benefits/properties of Cannabis.

However, there’s another side of the spectrum; even if the anti-properties help- can smoking and/or vaping Cannabis be harmful during this time? Because of the reports coming out about coronavirus largely impacting respiratory systems, could smoking and/or vaping contribute to difficulty?

And that question leads many to wonder about Cannabis- being a good or bad treatment for viruses like this one, and the cold and flu. Here’s what Center for Disease Control (CDC), has to say about COVID-19:

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.

  • Symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face.

  • Treatment: call your doctor or emergency room before going in and tell them your symptoms- they will tell you what to do.

  • There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19.

Virus- What is It?

Medline Plus describes viruses as:

Hijackers. They invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This can kill, damage, or change the cells and make you sick. Different viruses attack certain cells in your body such as your liver, respiratory system, or blood.”

Cannabis Anti Properties/Benefits The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), has this to say about Cannabis and anti benefits/properties:

  • CBD presents strong anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

  • After THC and CBD, CBC is the third most prevalent phytocannabinoid. CBC presents notably anti-inflammatory (Delong et al., 2010), sedative, analgesic (Davis and Hatoum, 1983), anti-bacterial and antifungal properties (Eisohly et al., 1982).

  • Regarding terpenes: pentacyclic triterpenes such as β-amyrin and cycloartenol have been shown to possess numerous biological activities including antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties (Vázquez et al., 2012; Moses et al., 2013).

Cannabis and Coronavirus

It appears that as of now, there are no supporting facts, research, studies, or trials that support Cannabis having profound anti-viral properties that can help cure coronavirus. Both are new to the legal scene, meaning that Cannabis is still in its infancy with research. Additionally, information about COVID-19 has been pointing to it being new- never before seen strain of this virus.

Reuters reports the following about Cannabis and Coronavirus:

There is no evidence to back up the claim that marijuana kills coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists smoking as one of the things that are not effective against the virus and might cause harm.

While this might refer to cigarette smoking, the American Lung Association explains that smoking marijuana can also damage lungs and potentially affect the immune system and its ability to fight off diseases.”

This brings up an important message: even with no concerns about symptoms or illness- sharing during this time is not caring. Being cautious means no sharing cannabis: joints, bongs, blunts, pipes. etc. Here’s what Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML has to say:

"As long as cultures have consumed cannabis, the practice of sharing a joint amongst friends has been a common social practice. But given what we know about COVID-19 and its transmission, it would be mindful during this time to halt this behavior.”

Cannabis- Cold and Flu

This strain of the Coronavirus- COVID-19 is newer to the scene; however, colds and flus have been a cause for concern in everyday life. Most humans are experienced with one or both. For the many wondering about Cannabis treatment for viruses like the cold and flu, here’s what Marijuana Break has to say:

Smoking cannabis when you’ve got the flu isn’t the best idea as it can irritate your throat and lungs further, causing inflammation, BUT that doesn’t necessarily mean that marijuana consumption is not an effective solution for fighting off the flu.

Recent research has found that flavonoids, substances found in plants and fruits, exhibit significant activity against the flu through their anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Flavonoids are important antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits”.

Cannabis Sales and Coronavirus

The Orange County Register, reports that cannabis sales during COVID-19 self-isolation have climbed by 30% for company Bud and Bloom. Candice Hawes, community outreach director for the dispensary has seen a surge in both new customers and in the amount that each customer is spending:

A supervisor came into the break room and said he just sold $1,500 worth of edibles to one customer.”

In many states, Cannabis dispensaries for both recreational and medical sales have been deemed essential. And if doors are not open, curbside service and/or delivery is available.

In Closing

There is no evidence to back up the claim that marijuana kills coronavirus. Though Cannabis sales are going up, smoking Cannabis should be done with caution. Those exhibiting even slight systems, of any viral infection/illness: COVID-19, cold, flu- should refrain from smoking due to proven insight about the harm smoking does to the lungs. Caution should be a priority since there haven’t been any studies proving that Cannabis smoking is helpful for these types of viruses.

Author Bio: Veronica Castillo is a writer from Miami, with a background in insurance and human resources. Currently, she is a resident of the road on an exploration of all thing’s cannabis and hemp. Veronica’s mission is to educate, inform, and destigmatize because she believes in the power of love for all plant medicine. You can find her work in multiple industry publications and follow her journey Instagram and LinkedIn.

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