Since the emergence of the novel coronavirus, medical marijuana patients have wondered the same thing: how will cannabis affect my body’s reaction to COVID-19? From the beginning, there were immediate claims that marijuana could cure or prevent the virus, but that was before there were any real studies on the subject. Now that science has had time to catch up, let’s explore the results. 

High-CBD Strains of Cannabis Sativa Show Promise in Preventing COVID-19

Searching for new and innovative ways to fight the growing COVID-19 threat, a team of Canadian researchers from the University of Lethbridge turned to the medicinal properties of cannabis. Focusing specifically on anti-inflammatory, high-CBD cannabis sativa extracts, the scientists found that this strain could potentially block the COVID-19 virus from entering a person’s body altogether. 

Their work was published online in an April issue of Preprints, an online medical journal. Their article highlighted the body’s ACE2 receptors, which act as doorways for the virus. Cannabis decreases the levels of ACE2 gene expression, temporarily closing the door to the virus to prevent infection. Cannabis sativa also has the ability to prevent the virus from propagating once in a person’s system, further helping prevent the more harmful symptoms of COVID-19. 

While their theory has not yet been put to the test in large-scale study, it does offer some hope for the near future. 

Smoking Marijuana (or anything) May Increase Risk of Infection

COVID-19 is a virus with countless symptoms, but respiratory complications are among the most deadly. Therefore, smoking marijuana may negatively impact lung health and the ability to fight infection. Previous research from Dr. Donald Tashkin, a professor at UCLA, found that smoking cannabis increased inflammation, coughing, and phlegm production in people with bronchitis. These adverse effects are likely to occur in patients with COVID-19 as well, increasing the risk of infection, worsening symptoms and making breathing more complicated. 

Can Cannabis Cure or Prevent COVID-19? More Research is Needed. 

There are few, if any, studies that can accurately make the claim that cannabis can cure or prevent COVID-19 at this time. However, the first case of COVID-19 did not reach the United States until mid January, so scientists have had a relatively short period of time to conduct thorough research. 

Right now, we encourage patients to take proven steps to ensure their safety and the safety of their family. Following CDC guidelines of social distancing and hand washing are among the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Now more than ever, it is important to be available for our patients, both new and existing. We are operating during normal business hours so that we may continue to deliver life-changing medical marijuana to those who need it most. Read more about what we are doing to maintain a safe clinic environment and be there for our patients: