According to scientists from the University of Augusta, cannabidiol comes to the rescue in the most severe cases of coronavirus – when a patient starts complications in the lungs.
“Now, when diagnosed with COVID-19, you are first sent home. You go to the hospital if you find it difficult to breathe and the shortness of breath is such that you cannot get from bed to the bathroom. At the hospital, we first carry out supportive therapy, until the last moment trying not to intubate the patient, ”says Dr. Jack Yu, professor at the University of Augusta, in an interview with Voice of America.
Scientists from the University of Augusta cite alarming statistics: a significant number of patients on mechanical ventilation do not survive.
“For example, a 52-year-old female doctor who was diagnosed with this disease spent four weeks on ventilation, and when she woke up, she found that her legs and fingers were amputated,” says Dr. Yu.
The cannabidiol contained in marijuana may relieve severe illness, according to research. This component of marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties and is able to prevent the so-called cytokine storm – a hyperresponse of the immune system, leading to severe side effects, including difficulty breathing.
“Preliminary evidence suggests that, when combined with supportive care, cannabidiol can be very effective,” says University of Augusta professor Babak Baban. “It can be used in the most severe stages of the disease.”
Tests in mice showed that the use of cannabidiol improved lung function. The level of cytokines in the blood decreased, while the level of oxygen increased. Scientists intend to continue clinical trials in animals.
“The mouse is not the best model for this disease. Ferrets fit better, and now we plan to test on them. The ferret is the best animal for medical experimental research, ”says Professor Baban.
He stressed that if tests on animals lead to the desired results, scientists will prepare for human trials.
“Cannabidiol is not a constituent of cannabis and therefore does not have a psychotropic effect. This ensures the safety of its use, “- said the interlocutor of the Voice of America.
The researchers warn that while cannabinoids are readily available, they should never be used to treat coronavirus at home.
“Despite the fact that cannabidiol can be bought without a prescription, it is absolutely impossible to use it at home. The initial stage of COVID-19 is characterized by an attempt by the virus to make it difficult for the immune system to “detect” it, emphasizes Jack Y. “At this very moment, the body needs to stimulate its immune system, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs can be fatal.”
The next stage of testing will take place at Georgia State University, scientists say. If successful, cannabidiol can be quickly released to the market, as it is already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of seizures in children.