Study Finds THC Could Alleviate Fatal COVID-19 Symptoms
The psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may effectively treat some of the lethal complications of COVID-19.
A preliminary study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology reported that THC in mice helps prevent a damaging immune response that results in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) called Staphylococcus aureus, as well as its enterotoxin, SEB. THC may also raise healthy lung bacteria.
Excessive SEB in the body could result in organ damage, including the lungs. With ARDS observed as one of the complications of COVID-19 resulting in death, patients who develop it must wear ventilators to assist with breathing.
“Whether it occurs at home or at the hospital, ARDS can be fatal,” Johns Hopkins highlights.
“The underlying mechanism is your immune system goes haywire and starts destroying your lungs and all your other organs,” Prakash Nagarkatti, a co-published of the study, told The State. “It’s like a car where you’re putting out a lot of acceleration, but the brakes aren’t working.”
“Basically, what’s going to happen is your car is going to crash because you can’t stop it. And that’s basically what’s happening with ARDS.”
After conducting the experiment, Nagarkatti has recommended that health officials start with human trials of THC. While the results observed in mice have been positive, these researchers still insist that it’s not a great idea to smoke cannabis if they believe they have COVID-19.
THC suppresses the immune system’s response. So, smoking cannabis recreationally actually has the potential to agitate a coronavirus infection.
“I just want to make sure our research is not interpreted as marijuana is good for COVID 19,” explained Nagarkatti. “If you start using THC early on, it might worsen the effect because it suppresses the immune system.”