The THC found in cannabis has shown potentially positive results in the treatment of serious symptoms that stem from the coronavirus.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina conducted a test to see if THC could work as defence against Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). THC has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties which could be effective in combating ARDS.

ARDS is a potentially life-threatening issue that causes fluid to build up in the lungs, this has the effect of cutting off the oxygen supply to the rest of the body. This is a common symptom of coronavirus and often the deadliest. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells while attempting to fight the Covid-19 in their system.

ARDS can lead to pulmonary scarring, this is a build up of thick stiff scar tissue in the lungs. This new tough tissue may lead to issues with breathing and potentially Pulmonary Fibrosis. According to the NHS, “About half of people with IPF lived at least 3 years from their diagnosis. Around 1 in 5 survived for more than 5 years.”

The researchers performed tests on mice to see if the anti-inflammatory nature of THC could block the immune systems attack the body’s healthy cells. The researchers deliberately induced ARDS in mice and one group was given THC to test their theory.

After undertaking three distinct studies of the effect of the THC on mice with ARDS, they found that the animals that were not treated died after developing the syndrome but the mice that were given THC had a “100% survival” rate.

In an interview with the Columbia, South Carolina newspaper The State, researchers were quick to point out that they are not suggesting that people use THC to combat the coronavirus. Prakash Nagarkatti, a co-publisher of the research paper, was quoted as saying, “I just want to make sure our research is not interpreted as marijuana is good for COVID 19. If you start using THC early on it might worsen the effect because it suppresses the immune system.”

The research was celebrated by the marijuana legalisation group NORML as another set of evidence that show that the chemicals present in marijuana can be used for medical purposes. Paul Armentano, NORML spokesman, told The State that people should be careful of people trying to exploit the research,

“The data at this point is preliminary at best and the public needs to be vigilant against predatory marketers prematurely hailing certain cannabis or CBD-specific products as supposed COVID treatments or cure-alls,” 

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