The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said it will review the status of cannabis on its banned substances list. Image: stock image via Unsplash

Cannabis and COVID: ‘Green-leafed doctor’ could reduce symptoms

Studies show that cannabis has a lot of potential in fighting the severity of COVID-19 symptoms thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties


The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said it will review the status of cannabis on its banned substances list. Image: stock image via Unsplash

A new Canadian study offers some data highlighting that some cannabis strains could help reduce a type of inflammatory distress called the cytokine storm. The study showed that cannabis has the potential to tame the severity of some COVID-19 symptoms.


In a study done by researchers at Pathway Research Inc, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge, the scientists on board used artificial human models to expose them to UV rays that cause induced inflammation. 

The human models were then treated with seven different cannabis strains to see the efficacy in reducing inflammation. Three were deemed the most effective.

According to the study, these three strains profoundly helped to reduce these inflammatory cytokine storms

The study shows that cannabis could significantly improve the condition of COVID-19 patients by reducing the cytokine storm and protecting lung tissue from inflammatory damage.

Weathering the cytokine storm

One of the main causes of severe symptoms that is proceeded with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is the influx of pro-inflammatory cytokines which is known as the cytokine storm.

The observed down-regulation of ACE2 gene expression by several tested extracts of new C. Sativa cultivars is a novel and crucial finding,” said the researchers

While our most effective extracts require further large-scale validation, our study is important for future analyses of the effects of medical cannabis on COVID-19 wrote Olga Kovalchuk

Out of all cytokines, TNFα and IL-6 play crucial roles in cytokine storm pathogenesis and are likely responsible for the escalation in disease severity, the study says

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An Open Access Government article pointed out the positive aspects of cannabis use to treat COVID-19. It pointed out the anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties that cannabis contains.

Compounds in cannabis, like CBD and THC, have also shown promise in a range of other areas, including pain relief and treating anxiety.

Cannabis industry in SA

In 2020, Gauteng premier David Makhura spoke about the industrialisation of the cannabis industry in South Africa, as well as its medicinal use.

A company in the Vaal that is licensed to produce cannabis and the Vaal University of Technology’s Dr Fanyana Mtunzi have also reportedly seen anecdotal evidence that shows cannabis is working in terms of alleviating COVID-19 symptoms and are calling for more clinical trials into its benefits.

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